The Archer Letters – Letter Nine

Fr Julian Tenison Woods wrote to Sir William Archer from Sydney on 13 February 1877.

In this letter he expressed his appreciation for the enjoyable time he had spent with the Archer family the month before. He was now in Sydney en route to Bathurst.

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The Archer Letters – Letters Six to Eight

This month’s presentation is a suite of three letters written from Tasmania early in 1876, their connection being Fr Julian’s anticipation of spending time with the Archer family in Melbourne.

Fr Julian wrote the first of these letters, dated 6 January 1876, from the Huon district, south of Hobart, where he was giving a most successful mission. He mentioned receiving 18 people into the church and the footnotes to this letter give evidence of the esteem in which he was held as an orator. The timber on which he recorded the number of communions and confirmations has been removed from the Geeveston church and is now on display in the Julian Room of the Josephite Mission and History Centre at New Town, Hobart.

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The Archer Letters – Letter Five

In his letter to William Archer on 12 October 1875, Fr Julian writes from Hobart where he seems to be busy about many things. 

It seems Fr Julian had delayed answering William Archer’s last letter and had received, with both surprise and pleasure, a second one “tumbling in on the heels of the first”.  As usual, there are requests to be attended to and views to share, particularly about plant life.

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The Archer Letters – Letter Four

In a letter written from South Brisbane on 4.12.1873 we see for the first time Fr Julian Tenison Woods using the †JMJ sign at the beginning of his letters.

We also learn a little more of the Archer family (both the high and low moments of their life) and of Fr Julian’s time in Northern Queensland. He describes being ill from ague, a malarial disease consisting of fever, chills and sweating.  Little wonder that he expressed the wish to spend summer in the cooler climate of Tasmania!

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The Archer Letters – Letter Three

In this month’s letter (16.5.1865) Fr Julian Tenison Woods writes to William Archer from Penola.

From it we get a glimpse into the number of people with whom Fr Julian had contact.  He tells William Archer that he has responded to criticism from Fr Bleasdale, President of the Royal Society of Victoria and asks him to put in a good word in case he has offended him.   He had, among other things, told Fr Bleasdale that he was working on overcoming his “youthful writing” day by day!  His enthusiasm for sharing his scientific knowledge seems boundless and he asks his friend, William, to support many ideas. We are left wondering what the busy William said after he read this letter!

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The Archer Letters – Letter Two

In a letter written from Penola on April 5, 1865, Fr Julian Tenison Woods writes to William Archer in a bantering tone…

He will not be abbreviated with his words, as obviously William Archer had been in his letter of 21st!  Fr Julian’s sense of humour comes through, as does his praise of the work that William Archer is doing in the scientific area, despite his many responsibilities with the Government.

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The Archer Letters – An Introduction and Letter One

An Introduction…

In 1980 Sr Anne Player [1] read 33 letters representing the exchange between Fr Julian Tenison Woods (1832-1889) and William Henry Archer (1825-1909) over the years 1863 – 1889.

Anne realised that these letters gave a different glimpse of Fr Julian, situating him within Australian society of the time and revealing aspects of his life and interest apart from the Sisters of St Joseph. Anne set out to add comprehensive footnotes to the letters to give context and meaning and, with permission from the University of Melbourne Archives, in 1983, the Sisters of St Joseph, Goulburn, published The Archer Letters.

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Sister Teresa McDonald

Sr Teresa McDonald’s signature

The death of Sister Teresa McDonald at The Vale (Perthville) on 13 January 1876 brought to an end the life of a remarkable Sister of St Joseph.

Born Margaret McDonald in Scotland in 1838, she immigrated to Australia as a child. After a short time in Perth, her parents moved to Adelaide. Ten years later, in 1867, she joined the newly-founded Sisters of St Joseph.

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