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Paterson River history

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Paterson Public School

Paterson Public Scool opened in April 1875.[1]

During 1865 moves were made to establish a National School at Paterson. Plans were drawn up and in 1866 a site was purchased but nothing more was done due to a shortage of funds. In 1874 the closure of the Church of England school at Paterson provided the impetus to establish the Paterson Public School. It opened on 19 April 1875 with 30 pupils and by the end of the year there were 81 pupils. The first principal was David Ritchie. Initially the school operated from the Oddfellows Hall, paying a rental of nine shillings per week. [2]

King St, Paterson about 1885

Above: King St, Paterson about 1885. The Church of England school is on the left, the Post Office in the middle and the Courthouse Hotel at right. The closure of the Church School hastened the establishment of Paterson Public School.

Land for a permanent school was purchased in October 1876 and building was completed in October 1878. The new school opened on 12 October 1878 with Francis Phillips as principal, and a weathershed was built in 1881. In 1907 the school was disrupted by the building of the Maitland-Dungog section of the Northern Railway Line. The new line cut the playground in half and required the demolition of the headmaster's residence. School was temporarily held in the Oddfellows Hall once again. Once the school moved back to its own premises, an extra classroom was added in 1909 to cope with the increased number of pupils.

Paterson Public School in 1909

Above: Paterson Public School soon after additions were completed in 1909. It is now a private residence.

Paterson Public School

Above: the school in later years (photo: Paterson Historical Society).

The present site for the school was acquired in 1950 but the modern buildings that stand today were not erected until 1970.


1. Government Schools of New South Wales from 1848. Online database.

2. Clements, Pauline. Paterson Public School: Centenary Celebrations 1875-1978. Publisher not stated, c1978.

See also

Paterson Public School 1875-1978 by Jan Burnswoods, Department of Education 1978 (copyright NSW Government), digitised copy of unpublished manuscript held by Paterson Historical Society provided here for research purposes. download.