Paterson Court House, built in 1857, was the centre of justice in the district, housing many policemen. In 1973, a small group of locals met in Paterson's School of Arts building to look into the possibility of forming a group to preserve the local region's history. They had no guidelines to work on, except to collect photographs of Paterson as it was in the early days, along with old stories, papers, and any other memorabilia from Paterson's past. Dungog Shire Council at this time offered the Court House to any group in Paterson willing to use it and take care of the building. The Court House provided a place to display the mounting number of items which were being donated, and a location for historical interest in the area. The first name chosen for the organisation was the "Paterson Preservation Society", but this was changed to the "Paterson Historical Society".