Musician Mollie McClymont recalls her childhood memories of home town Grafton, in NSW north coast, and shares her favourite spots to visit when returns to the regional city. Interviewed by Angie Kelly.
What are your fondest memories of Grafton?
My sisters Brooke, Samantha and I spent most of our childhood outdoors. We would have afternoon barbecues, swim in our backyard pool and ride our bikes with the kids in the neighbourhood. The Clarence River was a block away from our house and we’d walk there and jump off the wharf, go swimming and have picnics. It’s such a beautiful town.
Describe growing up there.
We feel so lucky to have had such an amazing upbringing. Our parents worked hard so we could do lots of after-school activities and it paid off. We learned tap dancing, mandolin, harmonica, piano and, of course, singing. Every Christmas holiday we went to Iluka, a seaside town about an hour’s drive north. We’d stay in a caravan park and swim and eat prawns – and do it all again the next day.
What took you away?
Our music. There were a lot of opportunities in Sydney so we each decided to make the move when we left school. I moved to Botany. We’d been going to Sydney to compete and perform for years so it wasn’t too much of a shock.
How often do you go back?
Our dad and extended family are still there so we try to get back a few times a year to see everyone.
Has it changed much?
Yes, quite a bit. There’s a new shopping centre, the main street has been revamped and there are so many amazing cafés and restaurants now.
What’s your favourite thing to do there?
To meet friends for breakfast, coffee or lunch at Heart & Soul Wholefood Cafe in the main street. It’s so delicious! The town has really upped the ante when it comes to food. Crown Hotel Motel is right on the water and that’s where we would hang out on the weekends with friends. Village Green Hotel has a beautiful restaurant, while the Clocktower Hotel is the flashest pub in town. I like to have a beer with Dad at the Albion Hotel down the road from our old house or go to the river for family picnics.
What do you miss about Grafton?
Our dad, friends, the warm weather, the jacaranda trees and walking down the street and knowing every person.
Name something about Grafton that you think would surprise outsiders.
The homes are absolutely stunning and we have an iconic bendy bridge on the way into town.
What are three things you think every visitor should do?
Attend the Grafton Jacaranda Festival or just go in October or November to see the flowers bloom. Head to the July Racing Carnival; the whole town goes and it’s such a fun time. Do your own pub crawl but I doubt you’ll be able to make it through them all – at last count, I think there were 13.