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Frank Archer (1846–1902)

All sections of the community of Northern Tasmania , were shocked yesterday on hearing of the fearfully sudden death of Mr. Frank Archer, M.H.A., of Landfall, East Tamar.

The deceased gentleman, apparently in the best of health and certainly in good spirits, addressed a well-attended meeting of his constituents at Lilydale on Saturday night last, and had proposed to hold a similar out-of-session meeting at Lisle on the Monday. Having spent the Sunday at Lilydale, Mr. Archer, accompanied by Mr. J. Somerville, J.P., paid a visit of inspection to the state school on Monday morning, and early in the afternoon set out to walk the intervening eight miles to Lisle, in accordance with his promise to his constituents at that place. Mr. Somerville, who is also the coroner for Lilydale, was Mr. Archer's only companion, and at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when walking a little in advance, Mr. Somerville missed his fellow traveller, and, retracing his steps, found him lying dead on the track.

Assistance was procured, and the body carried to Lisle, where Mr. Somerville consulted with the local coroner (Mr. Furlong, J.P.) and decided to bring the body into the city next morning. The remains arrived by rail yesterday, and the city coroner (Mr. E. Whitfeld), on receiving an assurance from Dr. Thompson that deceased's heart had been affected, concluded that an inquest was unnecessary. The funeral will leave Landfall on Thursday at 10 a.m. for the General Cemetery, Launceston.

Mr. Archer was born at Longford in 1847, and was the fifth son of the late Mr. Edward Archer. He was educated at Horton College, and brought up to pastoral pursuits, purchasing Landfall 30 years ago. He was well known as a successful breeder of pure Merino sheep. Mr. Archer has represented Selby in the House of Assembly for the last eight years, was a coroner and magistrate, and had taken a prominent part in local affairs, having been chairman to the Dorset Road Trust for 21 years, and was re-elected to the position on the 13th inst. The Methodist Church had in him a staunch supporter, and for 25 years he had done good work as a local preacher. With the exception of Harold, who is located in Queensland, his brothers—Messrs. Basil, Daniel, Charles, Ludlow, and Joseph—are well-known residents of Tasmania. Mr. Archer left a widow and a family of seven sons and one daughter.

The Chief Secretary (Hon. G. T. Collins) telegraphed the sad intelligence to the Premier (Hon. N. E. Lewis), who at once sent a message of condolence to Mr. Archer's widow. The Premier also telegraphed to the Chief Secretary, requesting that, if possible, he remain in Launceston and represent the Government at the funeral.

Mr. Somerville’s statement
Interviewed by an Examiner reporter, Mr. John Somerville, J.P., said yesterday:—"After an early dinner Mr. Archer and myself left Lilydale at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. We had gone only about 50 yards when deceased, as I had often before seen him do, put his hand to his breast, as though he had a 'catch' there, and stopped for a moment. Saying 'Now I am all right,' he resumed the journey. This was the only complaint he made throughout. We had walked gently up the rise for about three or four miles, when we stopped and had a talk with Mr. Lawrence, a resident of the district. On reaching Dudgeon's, the highest point on the track, Mr. Archer congratulated himself on having got up so well. We remained chatting with Mr. Dudgeon for about 20 minutes, after which we jogged along very comfortably. About a mile from Dudgeon's deceased looked at his watch and remarked; 'We are going to do it very easily; how far have we come?' 'About five miles, now,' I replied. To which he returned, 'We will be in Lisle in very good time. We have no occasion to hurry; I am a much better walker than I thought I was.' When we had got on about another mile, and had been for some little time on the down grade into Lisle, Mr. Archer repeated the remark as to finding himself unexpectedly so good at walking. The track here was so narrow that we were travelling in single file. As I pushed through some overhanging scrub he ceased talking; but, not heeding this, I went on a few yards. On looking back presently, and being unable to see for any distance owing to the scrub, I called to him, and sat down on a log. Becoming anxious, I called a second time, and getting no answer, retraced my steps. As I came in sight of the spot where I had left him I saw his figure lying stretched along the path. He looked as though he had lain down and stretched himself, the only difference being that his face was bloodless and his pulse was that of a dead person. His heart, too, was still, and breathing had ceased, while on lifting his eyelids I saw that his eyes were fixed. I tried to administer brandy, but it had no effect. After seeking for some time to restore him I closed his eyes, covered him with his coat, and went into Lisle for assistance in carrying him in. I consulted the coroner (Mr. C. G. H. Furioug) and we decided to bring the body into town to-day."

At last evening's annual meeting of members of the Tasmanian Agricultural and Pastoral Society the chairman (Hon. G. T. Collins) made feeling reference to the sad event. Archer had been a prominent member of the society, and was to have been given a seat on the council, and Mr. Collins was sure their united sympathy would be extended to the bereaved family. It was only on the 22nd inst, that Mr. Archer had written their secretary, expressing his willingness to assist the society in every way.

Lilydale, Tuesday
Widespread regret was expressed here this morning, when the news of the very sudden death of Mr. Frank Archer M.H.A., became known. The sympathy of everyone goes out to Mrs. Archer and family in their great loss.

Hobart, Tuesday
The Chief Secretary has sent a message of condolence to the family of Mr. Frank Archer, M.H.A., upon their sudden bereavement.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Archer, Frank (1846–1902)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Frank Archer, n.d.

Frank Archer, n.d.

State Library of Tasmania, AUTAS001125881441

Life Summary [details]


1 November, 1846
Longford, Tasmania, Australia


26 May, 1902 (aged 55)
Lisle, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations