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Paterson River history

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Woodchester House in 1881

Sketch of "Woodchester House" (Sunnyside) in 1881. Paterson Historical Society (digitally cropped).

"Sunnyside" at 21 Prince Street is probably Paterson's oldest surviving building. Historians believe it contains elements of a store built in the mid 1830s by James Phillips on his Bona Vista property. He sensed a business opportunity and built the store on the corner of his land, next to the boundary of the new village of Paterson that was announced in 1833.

In the early 1840s he added a three-bedroom house to the store as a residence for his son, William Phillips. William ran the Paterson Post Office from the store while he and his family lived in the adjoining house.

In the next decade the house was extended significantly. When advertised for sale in 1854 it was described as ...

"A weather-boarded building, with two brick wings about 42 feet in length by 36 feet in depth. The entire building contains five apartments below, with one large room upstairs the whole length and width of the house; it is shingled and substantially built" (Maitland Mercury 1 April 1854 p3).

The house has been further adapted and modified since then.

Dr Newbury, a local medical practitioner, owned the residence from 1867 to 1881. During his ownership it was named "Woodchester House". As far as we can tell, before and after Newbury it was and is still known as "Sunnyside".

Sunnyside in 1997

Sunnyside in 1997. Photo: Paterson Historical Society.


Threlfo, Shirley. James Phillips and Bona Vista, Paterson Historical Society 1999.

Sherwood, Cathie. Pers. comm.