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Paterson River history

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Keppie's sawmill at Paterson

Keppie's sawmill, run by Peter and Dick Keppie, was a landmark on the bank of Paterson River in Paterson village from about 1890[1] until it was badly damaged by fire in 1911.[2]

According to a 1904 newspaper article ... There is an old sawmill on the banks of the river at Paterson, and one of the daily spectacles in the town are teams of bullocks drawing huge logs down the hill to it. I was informed that a good number of men are employed in the district in connection with the timber industry. They are chiefly cutters and drawers. The valley and the ranges which surround it are set with abundance of ironbark, stringybark, pine, and red and spotted gums.[3]


Keppie's sawmill at Paterson about 1909, with the rail bridge under construction behind it (photo: Paterson Historical Society).

In late 1912 the fire-damaged sawmill was purchased by Messrs R Sims & Son, A Ebbeck and C Bridge, with the intention of improving and expanding the plant. We don't know exactly when the sawmill finally shut.[4]


Keppie's sawmill with bullock teams passing by on 'low road' north (Commercial Road) (photo: Paterson Historical Society).


1. Janece McDonald and Lawrence Henderson. Timbergetters, Sawmills and Sawmillers: 1800 to 2011 Maitland Region. Janece McDonald, 2011.

2. Maitland Mercury, 7 April 1911 page 5.

3. Australian Town and Country Journal, 20 July 1904 page 37.

4. Maitland Mercury, 3 December 1912 (courtesy of Janece McDonald).