The Archer Letters – Letter Thirteen

This month’s letter from Fr Julian Tenison Woods to “My dear Sir”, William Archer, is rather a long one with a considerable number of explanatory endnotes.

However, it is far from a tedious read!

Written from Penola towards the end of 1863, it is a good example of Fr Julian’s command of the English language, his fluent penmanship and his sense of humour. The letter from William Archer, to which he is replying, must have been an interesting one to have caused such a reaction!

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The Archer Letters – Letter Twelve

In September 1884, Fr Julian Tenison Woods writes to Sir William Archer from Perak.

He has obviously received a very welcome letter from his friend, although it has been a long time coming, and he wants to reply immediately.

Fr Julian has been in the Malay Peninsula for twelve months now and anticipates being able to chat, by and by, with his friend about all he has seen and done. His travels have been extensive, as has his collection of scientific material and knowledge, some of which he acquired while in the company of another priest-botanist, Fr Scortechini. He is full of praise for the Malay people he has encountered but is wary of some of the wildlife, particularly the tigers.

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The Archer Letters – Letter Eleven

In his letter of 18 October 1883, we find that Fr Julian Tenison Woods is now in Singapore, having left Brisbane three months before.

He relates wonderful new experiences, including witnessing volcanic activity and declares “I shall never forget my journey!” He was, of course, a guest of the Governor, Sir Frederick Weld, a friend from his years in Tasmania. He now looks forward to travelling with him to explore and geologize as long as there is anything to examine.  There will be time along the way to say Mass at various Catholic missions.

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The Archer Letters – Letter Ten

This month’s letter from Fr Julian Tenison Woods to Sir Willliam Archer was written from Bathurst at the beginning of 1878.

It was written in the midst of a busy time for Fr Julian. Obviously the period between Christmas and the middle of January was a popular time for priests and religious to be on retreat and Fr Julian was much in demand as a retreat director. No doubt the retreat experience would have involved his giving several talks each day over six or eight days. The timetable would have been structured around daily Mass, recitation of the Divine Office and other prayer devotions.

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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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