William Paterson

The Paterson family arrived from Scotland in the early 1860s and in 1862 established a ham and bacon curing business with fellow Scot, William Watson. They set up a factory on the corner of Dundas Street and Plenty Road, opposite the Junction Hotel.

The Watson and Paterson Ham and Bacon factory began modestly, the original building being weatherboard with a shingle roof. It was Preston’s first industry. Over the years it expanded, making significant contributions to the ham and bacon curing. Amongst its early employees were J. C. Hutton and George Farmer, both becoming industrial leaders in the field.

Whilst Paterson served as the ‘front man’, it was Watson who was the expert in bacon curing. Their successful partnership continued until Watson’s retirement in 1889.

Paterson took a keen interest in local affairs, joining the Morang Roads Board (an early form of local government) in the 1870s. This led to his joining the Jika Jika Shire, becoming its third Shire President in 1874-5. Such was the political power wielded by Paterson that he served no less than seven terms as Shire President up to 1900.

Carroll, Brian & Rule, Ian (1985). Preston: an Illustrated History. Preston: City of Preston.

Preston Historical Society (1968). Brief biographies of prominent Preston People. Preston, Vic: Author.