Land Commissioners Survey

The Land Commissioners survey, carried out in 1826, noted the growth at Woolmers:

"Came to Thos. Archer’s, he has built a large weatherboard House, lined with brick, and what is rare to see, is well finished and furnished. He has lately built a brick store which is much better constructed than the house, everything here is on the most extensive scale. Carpenters, Sawyers, Bricklayers, Blacksmiths, and a long list of labourers, a hundred Working Oxen, and about ten thousand sheep, he has laid down a great quantity of very fine alluvial Soil in English grasses, in short this place speaks forcibly of what may be done in Van Diemen’s land"

"Woolmers Estate is a pre-eminent example of a property established on an 1817 land grant which exemplifies the use of convict labour in the assignment system to establish a large pastoral estate. The assignment system was set up to provide convict labour to settlers in exchange for food and clothing, and the government saw the employment of convicts as a cost effective measure to develop colonial infrastructure and assist settlers in establishing rural and commercial enterprises, while at the same time reforming the convict through industry. The large country estate quickly became established as the archetypal symbol of the assignment system. Estate architecture was regarded as vital in achieving the aims of the system.

The development of Woolmers is nationally significant as the homestead group provides important evidence of the use of an assigned convict labour force in the evolution of a pastoral property based on wool production. The place contains convict workplaces such as the blacksmith shop, stables, gardens and paddocks, as well as the woolshed, which is one of the oldest in Australia. It contains the former chapel built for convicts to provide for their reformation. The layout and architecture of the estate makes a strong distinction between master and servant which the colonial authorities believed was an important aspect in the reformation of convicts.