Brothers John Hunter Patterson and Daniel Whittle Harvey Patterson were born in 1841 and 1848 respectively. On coming of age, they purchased pastoral properties in New South Wales and accumulated a large portfolio of leaseholds in the State’s Western Division.
John and Harvey had ready access to finance from Dalgety, Blackwood & Co. through a long-standing association with James Blackwood, who had been their father’s banker and a trustee of his estate. By 1886, the brothers held leases of over four million acres (1,618,760 hectares).
Silver was discovered on one of these properties, known to local pastoralists as ‘Broken Hill’, leading to the establishment of a mine and its managing company, Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd.
In 1885 Harvey paid £1800 for a twenty-eighth share in the mine and convinced his more cautious brother to do the same. Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd would grow to become BHP Billiton, now the world’s leading mining company based on market value.
Harvey served as director and chairman of the company during its genesis, securing his place in Australia’s long mining history.
Unlike his brother, John remained fundamentally a pastoralist, spending much of the time touring his stations. In later life he sold a number of these to invest in bonds and Melbourne-based businesses.
His son, also named John, took over his father’s interests in 1905 and, although known as a meticulous, hard-headed and exacting boss, left generous bequests from his £400,000 estate to his employees as well as to the Presbyterian church.
We’re proud to have administered Harvey Patterson’s estate and been a part of this great Australian success story. We continue to act as trustee of The Harvey Patterson Fund, which benefits a number of charities and charitable causes including the Royal Women’s Hospital and Vision Australia.