This picturesque town on the banks of the Paterson River is one of the oldest settlements in the Hunter and was a busy port in the early 1800s. Today, wander through this fascinating heritage with grand colonial buildings, classic country pubs, elegant homesteads and vintage trains.
Heritage & homesteads
Explore the historic town on the Paterson self-guided walk, a tour of colonial churches, homesteads and a First World War memorial. Look out for St Ann’s Church, built in the 1830s and one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in Australia. Join the Annual Paterson Historical Walk for a guided tour and fascinating insights from the president of the Paterson Historical Society. The Paterson Court House Museum is open on Sundays and contains intimate collections of local history, including an exhibition on Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar.
One of Australia’s finest collections of colonial farm buildings, dating back to 1822, is at Tocal Homestead. Set among fig trees on a vast rural property overlooking the river, the homestead is open on Sundays from March to November and hosts regular events throughout the year. Groups may tour at any time by appointment. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the lawns or order a traditional Devonshire tea from the Visitor Centre.
The arrival of the railway in 1911 changed the face of Paterson, bringing to an end the lucrative steam boat trade between Morpeth and Newcastle. Visit the Paterson Rail Motor Society Museum to learn how this new technology shapes the town and see the large collection of rail memorabilia and historic trains. The society hosts open days on the third Sunday of the month with some additional days during school holidays.
Tee off at the pretty nine-hole Paterson Golf Course or enjoy a picnic at John Tucker Park, overlooking the river. Have lunch or a cold drink at the Paterson Tavern, which opened in 1882 as the Commercial Hotel. It still retains many of its original features, including the wide upstairs verandah and intricate wrought-iron lacework. The Tocal Field Days in May are a charming slice of country life and the largest agricultural event in the Hunter region.
Destination NSW acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the state’s first people and nations and recognises Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners and occupants of New South Wales land and water.