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Like most rural communities, its population base lies in the surrounding rural properties and the village population is less than 100. The community is agricultural, timber and tourist based. Drake has an area population of about 700.
There are about 30 dwellings in the village proper, and the population including children is about 150, give or take on any given day.
There is a primary school with 3 teachers, and high school children go by bus to either Tenterfield or Bonalbo, on daily busses.
If you know of a local tourist site that is located in this community but is not listed here, please Email us (using the button at the bottom of this page) and let us know the details, including the community to which you are referring.
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There are several businesses in town; Sweet-Tarte's Cafe, Drake Hotel and Motel, Drake Tanks and Hardware, and Drake Store. There is a new Rural Transaction Centre (next to the park and toilet facilities) where email and other information can be accessed.
In former years Drake was a thriving mining and timber town with 12 hotels, a town band, and many private dwellings, plus a number of businesses including blacksmith, post office, general and feed stores. There were several cattle properties, but sadly only a small number are left, and those have been down-sized due to subdivision.
The area still offers fossickers a bit of fun, and some of the old mines are still reachable.
The cemetery is interesting, but has suffered neglect over the years. There are several smaller burial sites scattered around on private land.
The original Police Station and house is near the cemetery, but is privately owned. Old houses include Mrs Crotty's Cottage, which is being restored, the Laurie cottage on the eastern side, Oak Hollow Homestead, Cheviot Hills Homestead and the school. The General Store is also an older building.
There are a number of old mine stampers out in the bush, but most of the memorabilia is on Forestry land and off limits.
Great Grandpa George Frederick Schwinghammer was born in Grafton in 1865, of German immigrants. Great Grandma Annie Schwinghammer was the daughter of Hannibal Macarthur McFarlane (the son of Scottish immigrants) and was also born in the Grafton region in 1870. George worked in the Post Office at various locations including Grafton, Drake, and Coffs Harbour. George and Annie had nine children, most of whom were born in the Drake post office residence between 1897 and 1906. Their daughter Edna, who was born in Grafton but grew up in Drake, was my grandmother. My grandfather, William Gray McKay, immigrated from Scotland in 1911, and was set to work in the Post Office in various locations including Kempsey, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Kendall and Kurri Kurri. He met my grandmother somewhere in the Clarence region, and they married in Coffs Harbour in 1917.
Story and photo courtesy of Heather Finch.
Click on photo for full size
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This site is maintained by a group of volunteers. We strive to do our best but sometimes things are overlooked. If you find things that you deem incorrect or if you know of things and links that could enhance this site, which is primarily a dedicated link site containing only basic information, then please EMAIL us (using the button to the right) so that we can include it. All assistance is greatly welcomed.