Home » “Archerfield;” The First name of Forest Lake – Forest Lake History Part 3

“Archerfield;” The First name of Forest Lake – Forest Lake History Part 3

Jamie Furness    March 10, 2023    4 min read   

The name ‘Archerfield’ for the first Forest Lake property first appeared in a newspaper advertisement in April 1880. Earlier newspaper references to the property simply refer to ‘Selection No. 2815.’

The nearby Brisbane suburb of ‘Archerfield’ was not named until almost 50 years later when Archerfield Aerodrome was established and named in 1929. Neither is part of this story of the origins of Forest Lake.

Who named the ‘Archerfield Estate?’ 

It is theorised that the property is named after Alexander Archer, the Brisbane manager of the Bank of New South Wales who held the lease of the property briefly in 1879-1880.

There is a direct link between Archer and the second lessee Murphy. Murphy had transferred the lease of the property to Archer in January 1879, possibly as security in a financial arrangement. But by February 1880, Archer had transferred the lease back to Murphy. 

It was a month later in March 1880, that Murphy converted the lease to purchase of the property and became the first owner of the selection; perhaps this prompted him to choose a name for his new property.

The advertisement first naming the “Archerfield Estate” appeared the following month, in April 1880. Since Murphy had effectively owned the property since 1878 and still owned it at his death in 1881, it seems reasonable to infer that it was Murphy who named it ‘Archerfield.’ 

Alexander Archer 

Alexander was the seventh of the nine Archer brothers who were famous Queensland explorer-pastoralists. The Archers lived in Toowong but never lived at Archerfield Station. In 1871, Alexander had married Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Mackenzie the first Colonial Treasurer of Queensland, and a Scottish baron. In 1890 the couple died in Queensland’s historic shipwreck on the tip of Cape York – “The Quetta disaster.” 

caption: Alexander Archer. Source: State Library of Queensland.

Archerfield House in Homestead Park 

Homestead Park, a small open space tucked away in the north of Forest Lake is the site of the earliest settlement in the suburb. The homestead for the huge section (Selection No. 2815) that included all of Forest Lake and much more was built here. The Archerfield house and garden were established soon after the selection was made in 1876. 

When W E Murphy died in 1881, Archerfield was sold and the house and garden were described in 1881 sale advertisements – and also referred to in an 1885 article.

.. Nature and Value of Improvements 

A chamfer board house, 13 rooms, verandahs on top and bottom, iron roof.

Slab stables and mens quarters

Garden fenced and enclosed with an ornamental fence.

60 trees planted with cradles 

The whole selection fenced in complete with a 2 rail split fence.

Two gardens cultivated. Some cattle owned by H Farley…

The Inspection Report from the Bailiff of Crown Lands, 17 Sep. 1878 

Source: Queensland State Archives Film Z4667 Lease 2815 Henry Farley 

“ARCHERFIELD … Beautifully situated on a rising ground, in a climate which from the elevation is much breezier and cooler than that of Brisbane, is the dwelling-house, a well finished two storied structure containing twelve rooms with verandahs, balcony, porch, and hall.

The other improvements are good and substantial and entirely consistent with a really high-class family residence, the stales, coach-house, fowl house and all outbuildings in perfect repair…”

Source: The Queenslander, 5 November 1881 p578.

Fun Facts: It is possible that the original “men’s quarters” of Archerfield House described in 1878 were used to house tobacco workers in 1932. It is also possible that the stables used by mounted guards during World War II were the Archerfield House stables adjoining the men’s quarters. In 2022 there is a large rectangular sandstone block in Homestead Park – thought by some to be a remnant of Archerfield House. 

Archerfield house burned down in 1928 and was not replaced. However soon after the fire, a timber cottage was built on the same site to house a caretaker and the building survived until at least the 1960s. 

See Part 2-4 for more information on the first European settlers of Forest Lake.

From Before Forest Lake by Vicki Mynott – Adapted for print by Megan Woolley.

Avatar photo

Jamie Furness