Kempsey Shire Libraries

Kempsey Shire heritage

Frederickton was named after Frederick William Chapman.

He wrote in his manuscript Early Days on the Macleay 1836-1908 that:

‘I decided to subdivide a small portion of my property into township lots and call it Frederickton…they sold very well and a nice little village had soon formed.’

He had apparently surveyed the 170 acres several years after his marriage to Jane Agnes Scott in 1853.

Prior to this the locality had been the site of a ship building enterprise - a ‘river town’ based around ship building, timber getting and pastoral pursuits. Sugar cane was also grown here from 1871 until it was found that the climate was unsuitable.

John Gillies had the lease of 50 acres on the riverside. Major Henry Oakes, Commissioner for Crown Land, noted in his log book in 1837 that the settlement was well conducted and the ‘proprietor was engaged in ship building’. The name of the settlement was Klywooticka and that it was 2 miles from Yarrabandini Station.

In 1843 the ship yard was taken over by Christopher Lawson, a native of Denmark, who named the settlement Christopherson.

After the formation of the township associated businesses of black smithing, brick making and general merchandising soon followed.

Frederickton was famous for its regattas the first held in 1853. Originally these competitions were between the sailing ships which brought supplies, the crews pulling life boats and farmers in their rowing boats.

Frederickton (Macleay Street now Pacific Highway) c1896
Frederickton (Macleay Street now Pacific Highway) c1896

Source and photos: Courtesy of the Macleay River Historical Society