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Biographical entry Archer, William Henry (1825 - 1909)

13 November 1825
London, England
29 April 1909
Windsor, England
Statistician and Amateur scientist


William Archer, a London actuary, emigrated to Australia in 1852 to work for the Victorian Civil Service. By 1859 he was Registrar General and was Secretary for Lands 1874-1878. As well as being an eminent statistician he was an amateur microscopist and agronomist.


Employed as clerk to read the Act introducing compulsory civil registration of births, deaths and marriages, and recommending a plan for the guidance of the registrar-general 1853. Held some temporary appointments, legal work, articles and gave lectures from 1879. His botanical and zoological studies were encouraged by Ferdinand von Mueller.


1841 - 1850
Career position - Clerk and Actuarial Trainee at the Medical, Invalid and General Life Assurance Co., UK
1850 - 1852
Career position - Managing Actuary of the Catholic, Law and General Life Assurance Co., UK
Life event - Arrived in Australia (Melbourne)
Career position - Acting Registrar-General of the Victorian Civil Service
1854 - 1859
Career position - Assistant Registrar-General with the Victorian Civil Service
1859 - 1863
Career position - Registrar-General for the Victorian Civil Service
c. 1864 -
Education - Law degree completed at University of Melbourne
Career position - Called to the Bar
1868 - 1874
Career position - Registrar of Titles in Victoria
1874 - 1878
Career position - Secretary of Lands and Survey in Victoria
1878 - 1879
Career position - Lawyer for a life assurance company in Sydney

Archival resources

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • William Henry Archer - Records, 1853 - 1863, MS 105; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • William Henry Archer - Records, 1847 - 1866, MS 264; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • William Henry Archer - Records, 1842 - 1916; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Archer, William Henry, 'Pharmacy in Australia, letter to the Editor', Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, 17 (1857-1858), 175-176. Details
  • Hopper, John L., 'The Contribution of W. H. Archer to Vital Statistics in the Colony of Victoria', Australian Journal of Statistics, 28 (1986), 124-137. Details


See also

McCarthy, G.J.