Prior to the colonial period the Gresford area was occupied by the Gringgai clan of the Wanaruah Aboriginal people. The first Europeans in the district were timber getters who began extracting cedar in the 1810s. When Paterson was settled in the 1820s exploration upriver began at Gresford.
The first grants were ‘Camyr Allyn’, issued to Charles Boydell (now Gresford) and ‘Cawarra’, made out to George Townshend (now East Gresford). Boydell’s brother William took up ‘Caergwrle’ (just north at Allynbrook and pronounced ‘Ca-girl-ee’) upon his arrival in Australia in 1836. As these names might suggest these early settlers were Welsh, in fact Charles Boydell and George Townshend were neighbours in Wales and came to Australia on the same ship. Other local place names, such as Trevallyn and Eccleston, reflect their heritage. Indeed Gresford is named after a town on the Allyn River in North Wales.