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date: 24 August 2019

Archer, John Leelocked

(b Ireland, April 26, 1791; d Stanley, Tasmania, Dec 4, 1852).
  • Miles Lewis

Extract

(b Ireland, April 26, 1791; d Stanley, Tasmania, Dec 4, 1852).

Australian architect of Irish birth. He trained in the London office of the architect Charles Beazley and worked for five years for John Rennie, before spending eight years in architectural and engineering work in Ireland. In 1826 he was appointed Civil Engineer for Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), and he arrived at Hobart Town in 1827. He served as colonial architect as well as civil engineer for eleven years, during the first nine of which he was responsible for all government buildings, including military and penal works. His design for the Ordnance Stores, Hobart (1834), shows the austere and megalomaniac stamp of late 18th-century Neo-classicism, but only the less important sections were built, in 1834–8. His Customs House, Hobart (now Parliament House), begun in 1835 and completed by James Blackburn, shows the influence of the Greek Revival, and his monument to Lieutenant-Governor David Collins (1837–8) is Greek in the manner of John Soane. His churches show Regency and Tudor characteristics and are less sophisticated. Archer’s finest engineering work was the bridge on the Midland Highway at Ross, designed on principles derived from Rennie’s work, and enhanced by the fantastically carved voussoirs executed by convict stonemasons....

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Australian Dictionary of Biography (Melbourne, 1966–)