William Paterson


William Paterson (AOT, PH30/1/677)

William Paterson (17551810), lieutenant-governor, came to Australia as a captain in the New South Wales Corps in 1791. Initially posted to Norfolk Island, he returned to Sydney where he pursued botany and exploration, attempting to find a way through the Blue Mountains. He corresponded with Sir Joseph Banks, sending him botanical samples, and enjoyed Banks' support. Paterson was appointed Acting Governor in 1794, but was invalided to England in 1796.

Returning in 1799, Paterson was appointed Lt-Governor, and in 1804 was sent to found a settlement at Port Dalrymple. This was initially at York Town, but exploration of the upper Tamar River led him to settle the present site of Launceston in 1806. Paterson's time at Port Dalrymple was marked by indecision, none more significant than his failure to return promptly to Sydney following the overthrow of Governor Bligh in 1808. Following Macquarie's arrival in 1809, he retired from public life.

Further reading: ADB 2.

Thomas Gunn