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Paterson River history

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Above: the rear of Annandale, photographed from King Street, Paterson (GPS 32° 35.947'S 151° 37.226'E)

In 1838 Major Edward Johnstone retired from the army and purchased lots 11, 12 and 13 in King Street, Paterson. On this land the following year, 1839, he built 'Annandale' as his family residence. It is set on the banks of the Paterson River and faces north, away from the street, with steps from the front verandah leading down to the river.

Edward Johnstone was born at Annandale, Scotland, in 1791. He joined the British Army in 1810 as an ensign in the 48th Regiment and served in Spain during the Peninsula wars where he was wounded twice. He married Anne Rae in 1826. The couple and their four young children arrived in Sydney in 1834 with the 50th Regiment.[1]

In 1836 Edward Johnstone was appointed Police Magistrate at Paterson, a position he held until displaced in 1843. He was reappointed on an honorary (unpaid) basis until becoming redundant in 1847.

Major Edward Johnstone died at Annandale in Paterson in January 1850 and the residence passed to his son, James Rae Johnstone. In 1866 James sold Annandale to the trustees of St Ann's Presbyterian Church for £400 (the trustees were Thomas Stirton, Andrew Lang, Alexander Park, David Brown and William Corner). William Corner owned Sussex House and it seems he also acquired Annandale from the Presbyterian Church at some stage (see 1876 map of Paterson). He then set about renovating it.

According to Cecily Mitchell:

In 1887 the twin chimneys were given new chimney pots, and a good deal of money was spent on renovations by the then owner Mr Corner. The three identical louvered shuttered windows upstairs with their twelve-paned windows, glazed with imported English glass, were removed, and replaced with two single panes of glass. Also at this time a bathroom was added downstairs.[2]


Above: Annandale (photo: Philip Leak, Paterson Historical Society).

The two Annandales

Major Edward Johnstone of Annandale, Paterson and Lieutenant-Colonel George Johnston of Annandale, Sydney were both born at Annandale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland — Edward in 1791 and George in 1764. George was the NSW Corps officer who deposed Governor Bligh in 1808. George does not appear in Edward's immediate family tree but could be a distant relative. Johnston Street is a prominent feature of Annandale, Sydney.


1. "A Scottish Heritage – Major Edward Johnstone" by Les O'Neill, 1991.

2. Mitchell, Cecily. Hunter's River. Published by the author's family, 1984.


Maitland Mercury, 2 February 1850 p3 and 6 February 1850 p2.