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2 corrections, most recently by diverman - Show corrections


A very general feeling of regret will be entertained in Rockhampton and Central Queensland at the announcement of the death of Mr. Archibald Archer, for many years representative of the town in the Parliament of Queensland. The news reachied us by cable yesterday week and was received with expressions of sorrow

by all classes. Mr. Archer was a member of the family to whom the Central Division owes so   much. The Archers were the pioneer settlers, having taken up their residence at Gracemere about 1856. The head of the house was of Perthshire origin, but as Bri tish Consul he was long resident at Chris tiana, the capital of Norway. Mr. Archibald Archer was born in the ancient kingdom of Fife, Scotland, in 1820, but was brought up and educated in Norway. He always cherished fond memories of the home of his youth. With the language and literature of the country his brothers and he were familiar, and bestowed names of Nor wegian origin on many places in this dis trict— the familiar Berserker range being one. On leaving school, Mr. Archer took up his residence on the Clyde and spent five years in learning the business of a mechani cal engineer. He came to Australia in the early forties, but after a short stay left it

to take charge of the machinery on a sugar plantation in the Sandwich Isands. He was engaged in sugar planting and coffee growing for thirteen years. Mr. Archer came to Queensland and took up his resi dence at Gracemere in 1860, where he assis ted in the management of a station, which extended over a wide area of country be tween Port Curtis on the south and Broad sound on the north, and between the Daw son River and the coast. At that time the country was quite unsettled, and in   after years Mr. Archer had many stirring tales to tell of encounters with the abor igines and adventures in the untraversed bush. He began at a very early period of its history to take an immediate and prac tical interest in the fortunes of the rising town on the Fitzroy to whicn he and his brothers had given tlie name of Rockhamp ton. He also manifested a lively interest in Queensland affairs, and as early as 1867 was elected to represent one of the electo rates in which the division was then divi ded. The land laws were in a crude state, and Mr. Archer was the author and pilot through Parliament of the Land Act of 1868, which has always been regarded as a fair, honest, and useful statute, largely in strumental in promoting genuine settle

ment on the Crown lands of the colony. Almost wholly without intermission he continued to represent Central Queensland in Parliament. Latterly on several occa sions he was elected one of the members for Rockhampton. His last election was in 1893, when he had the great compliment paid him of being elected senior member for the town while he was absent in Eng land. His appearances at election times, characterised as they were by a dignified manner and courtly style, always comman ded the attention and respect of audiences even when not prepared to agree with him. In his discussion of public questions Mr. Archer spoke fluently, at times eloquently, but always plainly and clearly. He never left his audience in doubt as to his views, and on important occasions displayed a decision of character in strange contrast with the shuffling which is now so general. To his opponents he showed a gentlemanly courtesy which won their respect. On many subjects he was looked up to as an authority and always enjoyed the confi dence and respect of the House of which he was so Long a member. He took office as Colonial Treasurer under the late Sir Thomas McIlwraith in 1884, but relin quished it in 1885. When the later Sepa ration movement was established in   1889 Mr. Archer threw himself into it heartily, and along with the Hon. Senator Ferguson. and Mr. E. V. Reid he went to England in 1892 to present to the Marquis of Ripon, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, the petition from Central Queensland asking for Separation. It was while he was absent on this mission that, as already mentioned, he was returned as senior member for the town. In the industrial, intellectual, and social life of the town and district Mr. Archer al ways manifested a lively interest He was keenly alive to the difficulties with which arable farmers had to contend, and his close obsmrat ion of the strange vicissitudes of the sesisons led him to propound the theory that the Central Division i* situated in a dry belt, where arable farming can he car ried on only with a considerable degree of uncertainty. The circumstances attending the establishment of the experiment farm at (.indie have gone far to confirm Mr. ArclierV condu*iun. It lias been arrived at by other observers, and receive? con siderable confirmation from the condition of c-uun tries on the boundary line between the tropical nod temperate regions in both -tlte northern and southern hemisphere. Mr. Arvlier took a great interest in the intro duction of siloing at Gracemere, and in a tone of joyous exaltation he told a Rock himpton audience of the success of the means which had been adopted to preserve the stud --tot-k which would no longer, he said, be d«scimai*d tit short intervals by drought. Ho was always on the alert to watch and encourage experiments in farm ing and forestry.: and was ever read? with

head and hand and purse to encourage the . establishment of institutions calculated to ; promote the pleasures of life in the com- j munity. .A speech from Mr. Archer was generally regarded as essential at tht: in- augural ion of any new society or under taking. His all ect ions were' somewhat divided bet-ween Scotland and Norway, but he was one of the earliest and most en- { thusiastic members of the Caledonian Society. For Norsemen he had always a kindly greeting and warm welcome, and many of them settled in the district will cherish fond recollections of Archibald Archer, of Graceniere. He was always fore most in representing the district on the oc- ? cation oi vice-regal and other visits, and en- ! joyed the privilege often vouchsafed him of entertaining strangers, and showing tknm the attractions of the district. i Mr. Archer went to England in 1896 on his retirement from Parliament and did not return again to Australia. Immedi ately prior to his departure he was enter tained at dinner \-y the citizens. Tfce gathering was unusually large ajid the dif ferent speakers acknowledged unstintedly and gratefully the- long and valuable ser vice 3Jr. Archer had rendered to Rock hampton and Central Queensland. Mr. Archer's death will not be so keenly felt as if be had continued to reside among us. but none the less will sorrow at his loss and sympathy with bis surviving relatives be deep and wide throughout Queens land.