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Paterson River history

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Lower Hunter - Barrallier 1801

This is the earliest known sketch of the lower Hunter Valley. It shows the entrance to Lake Macquarie (at F, labelled Reid's Mistake), along with what are known today as Newcastle harbour, the Hunter, Williams and Paterson rivers.

Mitchell's map 1843

This map, titled 'Sketch of the Discoveries Made in the Interior of NSW in 1802 together with the Survey of Coal Harbour in 1801 by Ensign F Barrallier ...' is held in the Public Record Office, London at MFQ528.

In June 1801 a survey party consisting of Ensign Francis Barrallier, Lieutenant James Grant, Lieutenant-Colonel William Paterson, Surgeon John Harris, John Lewin (a naturalist) and others travelled from Sydney to explore and chart the Coal River (Newcastle).[1] During their survey they travelled up what are now named the Hunter and Williams Rivers.

Most importantly, Barrallier returned on a separate trip in November 1801, presumably to finish some of his survey work, and this time travelled up what is now known as the Paterson River as far as the vicinity of Mt Breckin (about 3 or 4 kilometres north west of the current village of Vacy).[2]

Notes and references

1. Walsh, Brian and Cameron Archer. Maitland on the Hunter. CB Alexander Foundation, 2nd edit. 2007.

2. Macqueen, Andy, The Life and Journeys of Barrallier 1773-1853, self published, 1993; see also C Grimes, "Hunter's River from the Bason to Paterson's River", 11 December 1801, HRA ser. 1 vol. 3: 413-415.