Courthouse and site, Former | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Courthouse and site, Former

Item details

Name of item: Courthouse and site, Former
Other name/s: Paterson Court House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Courthouse
Primary address: 33 Johnstone Street, Paterson, NSW 2421
Local govt. area: Dungog
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
SECTION 88831  
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
33 Johnstone StreetPatersonDungog  Primary Address
Church StreetPatersonDungog  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

An outstanding building, historically and architecturally. It elevated site gives it special townscape significance. A part of the town's character. An important element on the entry to the town from the north. (Dungog Heritage Study)
Date significance updated: 15 Jan 98
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Alexander Dawson (1858) and Mortimer Lewis Jnr (1861-63)
Builder/Maker: Stephen Stanbridge (1858) and Charles Mack (1861-63)
Construction years: 1857-1863
Physical description: The Courthouse is an impressive neo-Classical building. Rectangular plan intergrated with small, square plan extensions near each corner. Hipped main roof with pyramidal roof on extensions. All corrugated iron. Also has skillion roof verandah, between extensions, on eastern side overlooking the town. Imposing front portico below front of main roof. Solid masonry columns with columns with high rounded arches. Building is smooth rendered with stucco bands around brackets, balustrading and mouldings on sills and astrigals. Attractively landscaped grounds. Overlooks the town and the river. (Dungog Heritage Study)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good.
Date condition updated:15 Jan 98
Modifications and dates: 1857 - constructed
1967 - ceased operations as a courthouse
1974 - taken over as a museum by the Paterson Historical Society
1988-1991 - demolition of unsympathetic additions, guttering and downpipes repaired, repainting of exterior and other works.
Current use: Historical Museum
Former use: Courthouse


Historical notes: Paterson was one of the earliest centres of law and order in the region. A wooden lock-up served as a court house until the present building was erected in 1857. Designed by colonial Architect Alexander Dawson it functioned as a courthouse until 1967. Taken over as a musuem by the Paterson Historical Society in 1974. (Dungog Heritage Study)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
It is possibly one of the finest examples of a colonial building in country NSW.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
An imposing heritage building of robust construction and set on an elevated site on the western side of the township of Paterson. It overlooks the Paterson River and associated river flats, the northern railway line and the centre of town.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Museum records the history of Paterson, the indigenous occupation and the commencement of white settlement to the present day.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Regional Environmental PlanHunter REP 1989 03 Nov 89 1079346

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenPerumal, Wrathall & Murphy Pty Ltd Dungog Heritage Study

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Gazette NSW Statutory Listings
Database number: 3942
File number: S90/04895 NEP88 30

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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