Following is an Excerpt from the Dungog Chronicle published in 1947 describing early days of the township
'Raymond Terrace is a town situated on the Hunter River, in the centre of rich dairying country, 20 miles from Newcastle by water and sixteen miles from Newcastle by road. Discovered early in the 19th century, it has an interesting history.
Governor Macquarie in his diary of 1818 makes mention of his visit to Raymond Terrace in that year and refers to an earlier visit in 1812, but he does not make any reference to the time Raymond Terrace was first discovered. It can be taken, however, that Raymond Terrace is almost as old as Newcastle, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary during this week.
The following story handed down by the late Lady Windeyer is of interest as regards the discovery and naming of the town: The Lady used to relate that when Lt. John Shortland discovered Newcastle in 1797 he sent two boats up the river under a midshipman named Raymond who remarked on the terraced appearance of the trees at the junction of the Hunter and Williams Rivers. Thereafter it was called Raymond Terrace. There seemed little doubt as to whether Shortland did send an expedition up the river so early after his discovery of Newcastle and it is thought that Lady Windeyer's story refers to the expedition of Colonel William Paterson very early in the next century. It is apparently so, as records recently found stated that Colonel Paterson and his little band of pioneers reached the site of the township of Raymond Terrace in
In its early days Raymond Terrace was renowned for its cedar and at that time cedar was a more important product than coal. As the country became opened up the people began to produce from the land. It appears that the first grants of land commenced in 1831. The area known as 'Motto' half way between Raymond Terrace and Hexham, was granted to Mr. R. Siddons in that year. The acreage being 600 and it had a river frontage. The conditions of the grant were that Siddons was to clear and cultivate 55 acres or expend in improvements £275.
The notification that a site had been fixed for the village of Raymond Terrace was published in the Government Gazette of 1837 and land was available at £1 per acre.
Raymond Terrace became famous for the production of wine in 1834 and it will go down in history as being the first area in Australia to produce wine for export. The wine was grown at Irrawang, four miles from the town, by the late Mr. James King. In 1855 Mr. King was awarded a medal for his exhibit at the Paris Exhibition. Later wine was produced by the Windeyer family at Kinross and Kiaora Estates adjoining the town, but about 30 years ago the vines were destroyed and so ended the grape industry in this district. Sugar cane was grown near Martin's Wharf, in the '70s, but it did not do very well owing to frosts. Wheat also was grown but the rust soon ruined the crops and that industry was abandoned. With the failure of these crops agricultural and dairy farming came into being and although land was purchased at 10/- per acre the lot of the farmer was not a rosy one. The methods of farming were primitive and the prices for the products were not high, also floods and droughts came along in those days, just as they do today.
The making of butter was a very tiresome job. The milk would be set in basins overnight and the cream skimmed off and churned by hand for a return of 4d per lb. Creameries were set up in various parts of the district but they only lasted for short periods and it was not until 1904 when the Raymond Terrace Dairy Co. commenced operations at Raymond Terrace that any progress with butter factories was made. This factory now operates at Hexham and is said to be the largest milk factory in the State. Until about 30 years ago practically the whole of the land was used for agricultural purposes and the best lucerne in the State was produced and found a ready market, but with the advent of supplying milk to the cities of Sydney and Newcastle, agriculture has given place to dairying.
Millet has always been grown in large quantities. In 1882 a. broom factory was started in Raymond Terrace and continued in operation for about 25 years.
Transport in the early days was by water. It was many years before roads were conditioned to a state fit for traffic other than by horseback. With so many boats on the river it was not to be wondered that boat racing was popular. It was almost a monthly form of excitement for a race between challengers to be rowed over the Raymond Terrace course, where in later years many championship races were held between the world's champions, including George Towns. There were many ketches trading on the river. They sailed when the wind and tide were favourable or else poled them along when the wind failed, or one of the crew would get ashore and with a rope tow the ketch by walking along the shore, while the other members of the crew kept the vessel from running aground by poling her out from the bank.
Shipbuilding and Raymond Terrace are closely allied. The first contribution to the shipping and maritime wealth of the colony came from the lower Hunter and Clarence Town. In these locations two of the first steamers and ships were built - one at Dock yard and one at Clarence Town. The William the Fourth was built at Clarence Town in 1831 and a ship was built by John Korff in the same year at the Dockyard, near Raymond Terrace.
The religious side of life was not forgotten in the early days. In 1840 the Methodist and Church of England became established. The Roman Catholic faith commenced in 1852. The town of Raymond Terrace was proclaimed a municipality in 1884 and remained as such until 1937, when by government policy it was merged into the Port Stephens Shire.
Raymond Terrace has progressed in cycles. Until the building of the North Coast railway it was a busy shipping centre, but with the opposition of rail a lot of trade was diverted, and later with the development of motor transport, the river trade ceased altogether. When the butter factory commenced operations in 1904 the town again made progress but it suffered another setback when this industry was transferred to Hexham. The greatest progress has been made during the last ten years principally through the establishment of Masonite Corporation (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., a wood pulp business which made great strides since 1937. Great demand is being felt for home sites and many enquiries are being made for the establishment of factories and businesses in the town and district. - Dungog Chronicle 16 September 1947