Authorised form of namePaterson; William (1755 - 1810)
Dates1755 - 1810
Place of birthMontrose, Scotland, United Kingdom
Date of birth17 August 1755
Place of deathOn board the ship HMS 'Dromedary'
Date of death21 June 1810
OccupationSoldier; colonial administrator
Research fieldBotany
Trained in horticulture at Syon in London
Entered the army; went on expeditions in South Africa (1777-1779); gazetted to the 98th Regiment and sent to India; chosen to command a company of the New South Wales Corps to protect convict settlement at Botany Bay, Australia (went there 1791); served in command on Norfolk Island (November 1791-March 1793), whilst there he collected botanical, geological and insect specimens and sent them to Joseph Banks PRS; Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales (1794, 1806-1808); in 1795, Paterson gave an order that resulted in the massacre of a number of men, women and children of the Bediagal tribe in retaliation for the killing of two settlers; led an expedition to the Hunter Region (1801); in 1804 led a settlement expedition to Port Dalrymple in the north of Van Diemen's Land and became Commandent of the colony (1804-1808) where he again collected specimens for Banks; administered government at Sydney as acting Lieutenant Governor after deposition of William Bligh FRS (1809); Paterson River and Mountain, New South Wales, and Paterson Creek, Tasmania, named after him, died on the passage home to England, off Cape Horn on HMS 'Dromedary'
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election10/05/1798
Age at election42
Published works'Narrative of Four Journeys into the Country of the Hottentots and Caffraria' 1798, which he dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks
General contextHottentot is a now deprecated term referring to the people of the Western Cape of South Africa, while Caffraria referred to the Eastern Cape
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Wikipedia
Connor, John 'The Australian frontier wars, 1788-1838' , (Sydney) 2005
Smith, N. 'William Paterson: amateur colonial botanist, 1755–1810’, in Australian Garden History, 17 (1), 2005, pp. 8–10.
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA3049
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
NLB/10/567Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Alexander Harris, Colonial Office, Downing Street, S.W.20 December 1894
NLB/10/576Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to Alexander Harris, Colonial Office, Downing Street, S.W.21 December 1894
L&P/8/191/2Plate, 'Fish in its natural size, caught at Johanna' by William Paterson1786
L&P/8/191/1Letter, 'An account of a new electrical fish' from William Paterson to Joseph Banks16 March 1786
L&P/8/191Paper, 'An account of a new electrical fish' by William Paterson16 March 1786
EC/1798/07Paterson, William: certificate of election to the Royal Society
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