Reminders of Peoples Past – 04 – The Archer Brothers

Thomas Archer (inset) would have been proud of today’s Woodford Folk Festival

Not all reminders of our past settlers take the form of monuments. Roads and landmarks are often named after auspicious individuals and families. Such is the case of the Archer brothers who have a street in Woodford named after them. There is also a street named ‘Durundur’ after their original property there and a nearby Mount Archer. To most people today, Woodford is synonymous with its annual folk festival a street of which is shown here, and with which the adventurous Archer brothers would be proud to associated, if they were alive today.

There were thirteen children born to Scottish timber merchant William Archer and wife Julia, who later settled at Larvik in Norway. Of their peripatetic children seven sons spent varying amounts of time in the colony of New South Wales, mainly in parts of what later became Queensland. In 1841 David and Thomas, joined by their brother John. Travelling with 5,000 sheep approximately on the line of the present towns of Warwick and Toowoomba, they crossed the main range at Hodgson’s Gap, and established themselves for four or five years in the Moreton District.. There, near present-day Woodford, they established ‘Durundur’ Station. (Durundur is an aboriginal name for the Moreton Bay Ash).

Charles Archer arrived in Australia in 1841, and joined his brothers at Durundur in 1843. He was accompanied by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, who stayed at ‘Durundur’ for several months until early 1844. The country at Durundur proved unsuitable for sheep, leading the brothers to take up two runs further west in 1845.

The inset picture shows Thomas Archer in his later (1881) role as Agent-General for Queensland in London. Of his other brothers from ‘Durundur’, David left the country in 1842 and did not return to Australia, John returned to his occupation as a sailor and was lost at sea, and Charles died in Norway.