Paterson Historical Society aims to promote and preserve the history and heritage of the Paterson district and help people find information about their forebears from the district. Our publications cover many aspects of the district's history.

Museum and meetings

Paterson Court House Museum is an historical landmark in its own right. Located in the former Court House in the village, it is open from 11.am to 3.00pm on Sundays (closed Sunday 16 December 2018, reopens Sunday 20 January 2019).

Paterson Historical Society meets in the Museum at 7.30pm on the first Thursday of each month except December and January. New members are welcome.

New book - available from launch on 20 May 2018

coverPaterson Historical Society invites those interested to attend the launch of "William and Elizabeth Paterson" on Sunday 20 May 2018 at Woodville School of Arts Hall at 3.00pm. Paterson village and river are named after William Paterson but little was known about him until now. The book by Dr Brian Walsh recues both William and Elizabeth from historical obscurity and offers a fresh look at the first two decades of Australia's European settlement through their eyes.

William Paterson explored the lower Hunter Valley in 1801, which is why the river and town bear his name. He also commanded the regiment nicknamed "the Rum Corps", and led a rebel government after his officers deposed NSW Governor William Bligh in a military coup. Elizabeth Paterson refused to live in William's shadow. She and her friend Anna King established the Sydney Female Orphan School, becoming the first women in Australia to manage a public institution. Elizabeth and William Paterson also founded the city of Launceston in northern Tasmania.

The book challenges popular views of the Rum Corps and the Rum Rebellion. It chronicles the achievements and weaknesses of William as botanist, officer and governor, and of Elizabeth as a high-ranking colonial woman who made her mark in a male-dominated society and rode out the political storms that surrounded her husband. After the launch, the book will be available at Paterson Court House Museum and McDonalds Bookstore in Maitland (see also additional outlets). Enquiries about the launch - Cameron Archer 0427 202948.

Our photo collection is online

Our photo collection is now online - view collection.

If you have old photos of Paterson and district that you would like to share with Paterson Historical Society, please contact us. Even photos from the 1950s, 60s and 70s would be most welcome as these are our "gap" years in the collection.

How to join the Society

New members are always welcome. Please join to help us preserve the history and heritage of the district. Download membership form.

Boats at Paterson wharf