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Paterson River history

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Paterson's flour mills

At various times from 1849 to 1905 two flour mills operated within 300 metres of each other on the river in the Commercial Road area of Paterson just north of the village. They were Keppie's mill and Horsley's mill, both eventually owned by William Corner.

the two flour mill in Commercial Road area of Paterson

Keppie's mill (the upper mill)

flour mill in Paterson

Paterson's upper flour mill (photo: Jack Sullivan).

In 1846 the Maitland Mercury reported part of the news from Paterson as follows:[1]

STEAM MILL.- Preparations for the erection of a steam mill are in active progress; and under the spirited superintendence of the proprietor, Mr. James Keppie, no doubt the building will soon be in a state of forwardness. When completed, it will be a great convenience to the settlers, and will add to the importance of this township.

However it was not until 1849 that James Keppie advertised that his new steam mill was completed and he was ready to receive grain, with 'charges for grinding, smutting, and dressing, the same as the neighbouring steam mills'.[2]

James Keppie left Paterson in the early 1850s. He leased the mill to Adam Mather who ran it in partnership with Peter Keppie.[3] Later James Menzies and his son James took over the lease.[4]

William Corner purchased the mill in 1863 and it became known as "Corner's upper mill". In March 1875 it was operated or leased by Mr Wilson when it was badly damaged by a huge flood. The Maitland Mercury reported as follows:[5]

The water was about six feet up the third floor of Mr. Wilson's mill, and many tons of wheat and flour therein were destroyed. It was ... also up to the eaves of Mr. Hough's mill, and on the roof of the Wesleyan Chapel... the Mill House, belonging to Mr. Corner, and situated near his upper flour mill, has been washed away. Mr. Corner's lower mill, in the occupation of Mr. Hough, is much damaged; one of the corners of the building being washed away. Mr. Corner's upper mill is considered so much damaged that on the going down of the water it is anticipated it will fall.

By 1881 Mr Hough was operating both of Corner's Paterson mills.[6] The upper mill probably closed around 1905 (confirmation required).

flour mill in Commercial Road area

Above: the upper mill in the Commercial Road area of Paterson.

Horsley's mill (the lower mill)

The lower mill was established by David Brown on his own land and was in operation by at least 1850 but probably earlier. Brown became bankrupt in 1858 and in 1859 William Corner purchased much of his land including the lower mill. In the 1860s Corner leased the lower mill to a Mr Horsley. By February 1875 Mr Hough was operating the lower mill.[7] By 1881 Mr Hough was operating both of Corner's Paterson mills.[6]. Information is required about when the lower mill closed and was demolished.

Commercial Road in the 1870s

Commercial Road in the 1870s, with Corner's lower flour mill in the centre and Corner's grain store on the right.


1. Maitland Mercury 29 August 1846 p2.

2. Maitland Mercury 10 March 1849 p3.

3. Maitland Mercury 31 December 1852 and 26 February 1853.

4. Commercial Road - undated research notes held by Paterson Historical Society, author not stated but probably Shirley Threlfo.

5. Maitland Mercury 6 March 1875.

6. Maitland Mercury 26 November 1881 p6.

7. Maitland Mercury 23 February 1875 p3.