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.

Acknowledgement of Country

Paterson Historical Society acknowledges the Aboriginal people of the Paterson Valley ... read more.

Museum opening times

Paterson Court House Museum is open from to 3.00pm on Sundays.

We are closed Sunday 15 & 22 December 2024 and reopen on Sunday 12 January 2025.

Group visits

Groups visits outside outside normal museum opening times are welcome by prior arrangement. Email for further details.

Special individual visits to Museum

The museum can open outside normal times for individuals or couples by prior arrangement. A fee of $50 applies and is subject to availability of volunteers. Email

Paterson Town Walk 2024

people on the annual town walk

The annual Paterson Town Walk is on 7 April 2024. The walk begins at Paterson Court House Museum at 1pm (please arrive at least 10 minutes before). This popular yearly event is guided by Dr Cameron Archer AM who will provide a fascinating account of the town's heritage treasures and history. Some of the town's building date back to the 1830s.

The walk costs $10 for adults and includes museum entry and afternoon tea. School children are free. Bring a hat, walking shoes and a waterbottle. The walk lasts about an hour and a half and requires reasonable walking mobility.

Further details about the walk can be found in the media release.

Vacy to Gresford – People and Places

cover of Vacy to Gresford

Our new book "Vacy to Gresford - People and Places" by Dr Brian Walsh is now available.

It covers the people and places along the Paterson and Allyn Rivers between Vacy and Gresford. The book reveals how a whole new European Society emerged along the two rivers from the 1820s, albeit at the expense of the dispossession of Aboriginal people.

The book provides information on the land owners convicts, emancipists, free immigrants and colonial born who worked on the estates or leased parts of them as tenant farmers. This includes the wave of German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s.

It shows how the subdivision of many of the large estates from the late 1800s replaced a mosaic of tenanted farms with a patchwork of small, privately owned farms, many of which became dairy farms. The book also explains the history of the villages of Vacy, Gresford and East Gresford. 190 pages including many maps and images, a detailed index and list of references.

You can buy the book at Paterson Court House Museum on Sundays, from McDonalds book store in Maitland and online at our bookstore.

"Morpeth's Steam Ships"

cover of Morpeth's Steam Ships

Wayne Patfield's book "Morpeth's Steam Ships 1831-1946" provides details of the 72 ocean-going steamers that operated to and from Morpeth between 1831 and 1946. It has photos of many of the vessels, along with their service history, technical details and other interesting information about their use and ultimate demise.

The book is 136 pages, with a comprehensive index, list of references, and addendums on Morpeth's sailing vessels, punts, steam tugs and dredges. You can purchase it for $30 at MacDonald's book store in Maitland, Paterson's Servo, Paterson Country Cafe and Paterson Court House Museum (when open on Sundays).

It is also available in the Society's online bookstore.

Aboriginal and European people in the Paterson Valley

cover of Before and After 1822

In 2022 we released a book to recognise and reflect on 200 years since the start of large-scale dispossession of Aboriginal people from their land in the Paterson Valley when the area was thrown open to land grants.

Before and After 1822 – Aboriginal and European People in the Paterson Valley is written by historian and Society member, Dr Brian Walsh. It describes Aboriginal people in the Paterson Valley during the last Ice Age; early contact between Aboriginal and European people in the Valley from about 1800; the pace and scale of dispossession; the impact on Aboriginal people and their decline, survival and resilience into the early 1900s.

You can buy the book at Paterson Court House Museum on Sundays, at MacDonalds Bookstore in Maitland or online from the Society's bookstore.

How to join the Society

New members are always welcome, and annual membership is only $5. Please join to help us preserve the history and heritage of the district. You can join quickly and easily in our online store.

Join our Society

Online bookshop

Purchase our books by mail order and pay securely by credit card.

Go to our online shop

Online photo collection

View photo collection

Paterson town walk – phone app

Enjoy our Society's popular self-guided Paterson town walk on your mobile phone.

Paterson Town Walk

Travel/tourism guides from other providers

Dungog Region Horseshoe Drive. A unique tour of the region.

Upper Hunter Arts Trail Weekend.

Boats at Paterson wharf