George Gibson Paterson – Shire President 1871

The Bacchus Marsh Shire was constituted a shire on 23 January 1871.

It was previously proclaimed The Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley Road District, which was divided into electoral sub-divisions by an Order on 20 May 1867.

This council was abolished in 1994 as part of a statewide program of local government reform enacted between 1993 and 1995. The reform process reduced the number of councils from 210 to 78. The Shire of Moorabool was appointed as a successor in law in 1994. Any rights, assets and liabilities of the abolished council has been assumed by the Shire of Moorabool as its successor in law.

Public Records Office of Victoria

As we celebrate the 150th Anniversary on the formation of the Bacchus Marsh Shire we will remember some of our past Shire Presidents over the next few months.

The first Bacchus Marsh Shire President – Mr George Gibson Paterson 1871.

Courtesy of the Bacchus Marsh and District Historical Society Inc. Collection.

George Gibson Paterson was the first Shire President who served from the 23 January 1871 through to the 15 November 1871.

George was born in 1825 in Scotland, married Marion Brown in 1849 and emigrated to Australia in the 1850’s. Five of their children were born in Bacchus Marsh.

Early service to the District

Prior to George becoming a Shire President he had been a Chairman of the Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley District Road Board 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868 and 1870. He was noted as getting a road put through to the Pentland Hills and upgrading Main Street.

He was a Merchant Tailor and conducted his business from his shop in Main Street, Bacchus Marsh. His shop was located where the Far West Pizza shop is today.

George died on the 17 November 1907 and is buried in the Maddingley Cemetery, Bacchus Marsh.

The Death Notice for George Gibson Paterson – Bacchus Marsh Express – Saturday 23 November 1907 on page 2.

Courtesy of the Bacchus Marsh and District Historical Society Inc. Collection.

George remembered

Supporting his death notice Bacchus Marsh Express reported:

The late Mr. George Gibson Paterson was a man of superior ability and qualifications in every way. He came to Bacchus Marsh in the later 50’s, and lived into the fourth generation, which knew little of him – a fate which befalls all who get past say 55, and Mr. Paterson was in his 83rd year. He was diligent in business almost up to the last, when illness of a paralytic character set in. In Road Board and Shire Council days of what may be called the. formative period he was broad-minded and influential. He rightly pushed on the formation of the main road through the Pentland Hills while main road subsidy lasted. His colleagues of those days – ex-Crs. George Grant and Michael O’Connell – still survive, and helped in that work, for which the present generation has to thank them. Mr. Paterson was President once or twice, and left the Council to go to Melbourne. Before he left he got the present main street graded to its present levels; the late Cr. Dickie got the asphalt footpaths, and his son, the present Cr. Dickie, should get both re-constructed, say in 1911, on Flinders street principles, but with tarred metal instead of wooden blocks. Work towards that by cobbling repairs, to reduce superfluous material now on the street. And so one generation handeth on to another the ever recurring burden of large public works upon small resources. The late Mr. Paterson was appointed a J.P.; but he declined to accept, as he saw no public need for it, and he had no personal ambition. He was a native of Ayr. His widow survives him, also three sons and three daughters, the wife of Mr. W. T. Lewis, of the Education Department being one of them. The funeral on Monday afternoon was private, after the manner now frequently adopted. The Rev. G. P. Rees officiated at the grave in Maddingley cemetery, and Mr. Wynne was the undertaker.’ 

Bacchus Marsh Express, Saturday 23 November 1907, page 2

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