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Biographical entry Archer, John Lee (1791 - 1852)

26 April 1791
4 December 1852
Stanley, Tasmania, Australia
Engineer and Architect


John Archer was Civil Engineer and Colonial Architect to Van Diemen's Land 1826-1838 and police magistrate for the district of Horton 1838 until his death. Among the many buildings he designed are Parliament, the Ordnance Stores in Salamanca Place and a number of churches. His outstanding engineering work was the stone bridge over the Macquarie River at Ross.


Associated Engineering Works:

Bridges and harbour works:
* 1827-1830. Hobart (wharf and waterfront), Sullivan's Cove improvements;
* 1828. Hobart Rivulet realignment;
* 1829-1835. Richmond Bridge; repairs;
* 1831. Harrington Street Bridge;
* 1831-1836. Ross Bridge;
* 1835. Bridgewater Causeway;
* 1835. Jordan River Bridge, repairs and new pier design;
* 1836-1837. Argyle Street Bridge.

* 1833-1838. Low Head Lighthouse;
* 1835-1838. Cape Bruny Lighthouse.


1809 - 1812
Career position - Apprenticed to Charles Beazley, a London Architect
1812 - c. 1813
Career position - Assistant, working for Architect Samuel Beazley
c. 1813 - c. 1819
Career position - Drawing clerk, under engineer John Rennie, London. Including some work on Waterloo Bridge and Southwark Bridge.
c. 1819 - c. 1826
Career position - Engineer and architect, Ireland, under engineer John Archer, his father, including work on the Royal Canal, Dublin.
Career event - Appointed 'Civil engineer in Van Diemen's Land'
Life event - Migrated to Hobart, Tasmania.
1827 - c. 1838
Career position - Civil engineer and Colonial architect, Tasmania.
1838 - 1852
Career position - Police magistrate, Horton district, Tasmania
Life event - Buried at Circular Head cemetery, Stanley, Tasmania.

Published resources


  • Smith, Roy, John Lee Archer, Tasmanian Architect and Engineer (Tasmania: Tasmanian Historical Research Association, 1962), xii + 70p illus. pp. Details

Book Sections

Edited Books

  • Bailey, M. R.; Chrimes, M. M.; Cox, R. C.; Cross-Rudkin, P. S. M.; Hurst, B. L.; McWilliam, R. C., Rennison, R. W.; Ruddock, E. C.; Sutherland, R. J. M.; Swailes, T. ed., Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 2: 1830-1890 (London, United Kingdom: Thomas Telford Publishing, 2008), 907 pp. pp.21-22. Details


See also

  • Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Technology in Australia 1788-1988, Online edn, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, Melbourne, 3 May 2000, Details
  • Engineers Australia, Wonders never cease: 100 Australian engineering achievements (Barton, Australian Capital Territory: Institution of Engineers, Australia, 2019), 236 pp. p.71. Details

Rosanne Walker, Ken McInnes