Thomas Archer was the first of the Hertford, England, Archers to travel to Van Diemens Land. Arriving in 1813, he took up the Government position of Deputy Commissariat of the Stores at Port Dalrymple.

This marked the beginning of the Archer family history in Van Diemens Land and heralded the rise of Thomas Archer from middle-class tradesman to wealthy property owner.

The background to Thomas' departure to the colony remains something of a mystery, but it is known that his father, William, had managed to establish a position for him within the colonial administration.

William, a miller by trade, had travelled extensively looking for ways to improve his business, sourcing the best grains and equipment for milling flour. He had shaped his five sons' lives, by providing them with a sound education and ensuring that they understood the economics of the family business. However, the business was not capable of providing a future for them all and they were encouraged to travel abroad in search of opportunities. Of his five sons, three had travelled overseas - Joseph and Edward journeying to America, and Daniel to India.

It was inevitable that Thomas, too, would be sent off to seek business opportunities, and he set sail from Portsmouth, England, on 3 September 1811. His first destination was the English colony of New South Wales, where he briefly served as Deputy Commissary at Sydney.