Paterson River history


Books I have written in recent years and where you can buy them (I do not profit from their sale).

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William and Elizabeth Paterson — the Edge of Empire

Buy at Paterson Historical Society.

The first two decades of Australia's European history through the lives of William and Elizabeth Paterson. They stood at the centre of the achievements and misdeeds of the NSW Corps. William became its colonel and acted as governor of NSW for two separate terms. He participated in the trading activities of the Corps that earned the nickname "the Rum Corps", and he supported his officers when they deposed William Bligh and formed a rebel government.

Elizabeth Paterson was an independent, talented woman. She and her friend Anna King established the Sydney Female Orphan School, the first welfare institution on mainland Australia. They became the first women in Australia to serve on a government committee and to manage a pubic institution.

William and Elizabeth Paterson founded what is now the city of Launceston in northern Tasmania. The book challenges populist views of the Rum Corps and the Rum Rebellion and offers a critical alternative to this extraordinary period in Australia's European history.

Reviews of the Paterson book

Also available from McDonalds Bookstore in Maitland.

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Toil and Trouble from Maitland to Moreton Bay — John Eales' Convicts

This book details the lives, deeds, misdeeds and adventures of 141 convict men and women who worked for John Eales of Berry Park and Duckenfield at some stage during their sentences or while holding a ticket-of-leave.

Workplaces included the lower Hunter Valley, the Liverpool Plains and Wide Bay (in what is now the Maryborough region of Queensland). The book includes chapters on the Newcastle Female Factory, escapes and punishments, and convict life on Eales' squatting runs in the remote interior.

In 2016 Toil and Trouble was short-listed for the Kay Daniels Award made by the Australian Historical Association to recognise outstanding original research on Australian convict history.

Revised in 2020, second edition now available free online via Paterson Historical Society [download]. 105 pages, ISBN second edition 9780958650113.

Details of the individual convicts are available here.

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Convict Tools — Working at Camden Park and Tocal

This book records the day to day working lives of convicts on Belgenny Farm at Camden Park near Sydney, and the Tocal estate in the lower Hunter Valley. Large numbers of convicts were assigned to both estates.

It includes chapters on working in timber, stone, brick and iron, tilling the soil, harvesting crops, working with animals, haulage and cartage.

Price is $30, available from Tocal College. [92 pages, 2013, ISBN 978-0-9874184-2-5].

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Milk and the Macarthurs — the Dairy History of Camden Park

Chronicles the dairy history of Camden Park under the Macarthurs, including the early days of the Cowpastures, production of Laurel butter, Camden Vale Special Milk, model dairies and the famous rotolactor at Menangle.

Available from Belgenny Farm. [128 pages, 2016, ISBN 978-0-9946250-0-7].

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European Settlement at Paterson River 1812 to 1822

A fascinating account of the first Europeans to settle outside the Sydney basin. Reveals the operation of the Newcastle penal settlement, the benevolence of Governor Macquarie, life on the Paterson River, the remarkable local economy and the struggles of the early convict settlers to keep their land. 48 pages.

Available from McDonalds Bookstore in Maitland and from Paterson Historical Society. [48 pages, 2012, ISBN 978-0-9871744-3-7].

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Voices from Tocal — Convict Life on a Rural Estate

Reveals the lives of the 140 men and boys who were convicts at Tocal between 1822 and 1840. Includes working conditions and lifestyle, rewards and punishments, their struggle for freedome and what became of them.

This ground-breaking book provides important insights into convict life on rural estates.

Available from McDonalds Bookstore in Maitland and from Tocal College. [142 pages, 2008, ISBN 978-0-73130610-7].