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Paterson River history

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Paterson Farmers Union or market

former Union shed in King St Paterson

Above: the former Union shed in King St, Paterson.

the new Farmers Union shed

Maitland Weekly Mercury 17 January 1903, 8.

The Paterson Farmers Union or market was initially held in a building opposite the Court House. In 1903 it moved to 17 King Street. This site was formerly occupied by the Wellington Inn that was burnt down in 1889.

For part of the 1900s the Farmers Union was run by Ernie Wilson and W.A. (Bill) Keppie. They ran the town's auctioneering business which also included stock sales at the saleyards above the lagoon near George Street. Wilson and Keppie also owned 'Woodlands' at Vacy.

Ernie Wilson died in the early 1930s and Bill Keppie carried the business through until the early 1950s.

Tuesday was Union Day

Each Tuesday people came from surrounding districts to sell and buy produce. One could buy eggs, chickens, fruit, vegetables and so on. The town would be busy with horses tied up along the streets and with sulkies and drays parked wherever they could find a place.

The Union shed was laid out with a series of benches up and down the centre and along the walls. These would be overflowing with produce. The shed was also used for roller skating which was a village pasttime. Patrons could hire roller skates.

Following its closure as a Union, the shed became a sawmill run by the Partridge family. The sawmill had previously operated near the cemetery and before that at Duns Creek. The King Street sawmill cut local hardwoods to make fish boxes and later to make pallets. The mill closed after Bert Partridge's death in 1990 and was sold in 1991.

Union Day at Paterson

Above: Union day at Paterson, taken in 1902, before the railway went through town. The Court House picket fence is at centre right with carts parked alongside it, the CBC Bank (built 1902) is the two storey building in the middle of the photo (copy of photo courtesy of Garry Simmonds, original source unknown).

Paterson Union after the move

Above: The Farmers Union at Paterson at the new premises, run by Wilson and Keppie. This building still stands at 17 King Street.

Maitland market day

Above: this is NOT Paterson Union day, it is at Maitland but it shows the hive of activity of horses and drays loaded with produce (photo: courtesy of Sid Brown).


An article by Cameron Archer and Bill Keppie in Museum News vol. 17 no. 2, 2010, Paterson Historical Society.

The Maitland Weekly Mercury, 17 January 1903, 8.