Convicts at woolmers

Under Thomas Archer's management, Woolmers Estate Tasmania became a centre of activity in the district, producing a range of agricultural products. Primary amongst these was merino wool for export to England.

Archer added to his estate at Woolmers through grants and additional purchase of allotments during the 1820s. Government returns of 1820 show that he had 5 assigned convicts and 10 merino rams. In 1825 he employed 40 convicts and had 6,000 sheep.

Convict Built Chapel at Woolmers

The successful development of such a large pastoral estate in Tasmania relied to a great extent on the availability of cheap labour afforded in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) by the convict assignment system which operated between 1803 and 1840. During the period of the establishment and early growth of Woolmers, 80 to 90% of the available work force in the colony was comprised of convicts and ex-convicts.