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Birth Date
13 Mar 1820 (Fife, Scotland)

Death Date
10 Feb 1902 (London, England)

William and Julia (nee Walker)

Never Married


1. Educated in Perth, Scotland, and in Norway.

Church of England


1. Spent five years working with an engineering firm in Scotland.
2. Pursued a career as a coffee and sugar planter in the South Sea and Sandwich Islands in 1842.
3. Joined his brothers on their pastoral property `Gracemere' in 1860.
4. Represented Rockhampton in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 27 July 1867 to 19 Nov 1869.
5. Became Agent-General for Queensland in 1870.
6. Represented Blackall in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 28 Nov 1878 to 23 Jan 1886.
7. Appointed Colonial Treasurer and Secretary for Public Instruction, 5 Jan 1882 to 13 Nov 1883.
8. Represented Rockhampton in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, 5 May 1888 to 4 April 1896.

Party and Political Activities
Independent (IND)

Parliamentary Representation
HousePartyElectorateFromToDeparture Reason
AssemblyIND ROCKHAMPTON 27 Jul 186719 Nov 1869Resigned
AssemblyIND BLACKALL28 Nov 187823 Jan 1886Resigned
AssemblyIND ROCKHAMPTON 05 May 188804 Apr 1896Retired

Colonial Treasurer and Secretary for Public Instruction05 Jan 1882 13 Nov 1883


1. Archibald Archer was born in Scotland, the sixth child of William, a timber merchant, and Julia. There were 13 children, nine of whom spent time in Australia. In 1825 the family moved to Larvik, Norway, where the five younger children were born.
2. Archibald was educated in Perth, Scotland, and then in Norway. He emigrated to Australia in 1842. David had arrived in Sydney in 1834; William and Thomas in 1838; and Charles and John in 1841. The Archer brothers became renowned explorers and graziers who were responsible for opening up large tracts of land in Queensland.
3. Charles and William discovered and named the Fitzroy River in 1853 and in 1854, with Colin, explored the Peak Downs district. The family partnership took up land in the Fitzroy valley and first occupied it in 1855. The city of Rockhampton now stands on part of the orginal `Gracemere' run.
4. Cattle as well as sheep were run on Gracemere from the earliest years, and in the early 1870s it was switched entirely to cattle for which the district seemed better suited. Gracemere homestead, built in 1858, remains in the ownership of the Archer family and is now listed by the National Trust. 
5. After arriving in Australia in 1842, Archibald stayed only five months before heading to the South Seas and Sandwich Islands to coffee and sugar plantations for 13 years. He returned to Australia in 1860 and joined his brothers at `Gracemere'.   
6. Archibald was elected to the Legislative Assembly in a by-election in 1867 for the seat of Rockhampton. He was a keen supporter of the Central Queensland separation movement. In 1869 he resigned from parliament to accept the position of Agent-General for Queensland in 1870.
7. He had to resign because, in the government's opinion, he had jeopardised the position due to an accepted obligation to present a petition from the supporters of separation to the Colonial Office. Archibald returned to parliament in 1878 when he won the seat of Blackall.
8. Under the McIlwraith government, Archibald served as Colonial Treasurer and Secretary of Public Instruction from 1882 to 1883. As a member of the Central Queensland Territorial Separation League, he renewed his fight for the separation of the central region. In 1890 he introduced a motion into the parliament to that effect but was defeated 34 votes to 19.
9. The CQTSL sent Archibald and John Ferguson (a former Rockhampton member) to London to argue the cause, but they were unsuccessful. In September 1894, Archibald was appointed to a parliamentary committee which investigated the friction between the three railway commissioners. Its report recommended placing the department under one commissioner.
10. Prior to Archibald's retirement from parliament in 1896, he had promised his constituents that the Winton railway extension would not be brought before the House during the session of 1895. However, the Nelson government successfully pushed the proposal through the parliament. Feeling betrayed, Archibald retired to London, where he died, unmarried, on 10 Feburary 1902. 


1. O'Keeffe, Mary, 'Archer, Archibald (1820 - 1902)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, Melbourne University Press, 1966, pp 22-23
2. The Queenslander Illustrated Supplement, `The Late Archibald Archer', 8 March 1902
3. Waterson, DB, Biographical Register of the Queensland Parliament: 1860-1929, 2nd revised edition (Sydney: Casket Publications, 2001)
4. Image sourced from collection of the Queensland Parliamentary Library and Research Service.

[Last Modified: 06 Nov 2014 13:35]

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