Cameron has spent his life immersed in agriculture and the natural environment from growing up on a farm, attending an agricultural high school, undertaking an agricultural science degree at the University of Sydney specialising in botany and plant ecology, working in Northern Australia as a research/extension agronomist and then spending his career in agricultural education at Tocal Agricultural College in the Paterson Valley, New South Wales.
Much of that period was as principal of the College overseeing a diverse range of educational programs and the extensive 2250ha farm enterprises.
He busied himself learning about vocational education, undertaking a course work postgraduate degree and a research degree in education but was eventually drawn back to a study about how the natural world and humanity meet through a PhD in environmental history of the Paterson Valley at the University of Newcastle.
This was underpinned by his long time involvement in local history and his life through floods, droughts, storms and blistering summers in the Paterson Valley.
Cameron has written various books published through the Paterson Historical Society and Tocal’s CB Alexander Foundation. These are available through those respective organisations.
He has also written papers and articles on various topics and these are listed.
THE MAGIC VALLEY reflects Cameron’s PhD but is more related to his experiences in the Valley and knowledge gained through local history and by interviewing many long time residents.
The Magic Valley
This is a detailed study compiled over 40 years
living and working in the Paterson Valley. It analyses the relationship between humans and their environment, starting
with the impacts of Aboriginal land management and how this unwittingly benefitted the invading Europeans and their herds and flocks.
Highlands to the Limestone Plains
This book explains why over 5,000 Scottish Highlanders emigrated to Australia around 1840. In doing so it examines how the author’s forebears lived in the Highlands, what it meant to be a Highlander and their subsequent life on the Limestone Plains, the locality which was to become Canberra.
Other Publications by Cameron Archer
A History of St Ann’s Presbyterian Church Paterson
Written with well known Hunter historian, Jack Sullivan, it is a detailed history of what was, before its closure in 2009, one of Australia’s oldest continuing Presbyterian churches. The building remains as a prominent landmark in the village of Paterson. Includes many photos and details of its ministers. 98pp.
The Settlement of the Paterson District
This is the first book Cameron wrote, published in 1986. It has been reprinted a number of times and in 2018 a third edition was published with a minor revision and digitisation. It gives an overview of the early years of Europeans in the Paterson District and how the land was carved up into large estates. The most relevant local maps are included including those from the 19th century as well as a range of important early images. 48 pp
Personalities, Pragmatists and Visionaries – the Origins and Federation of Australia
Cameron studied and wrote about the process that occurred leading to Federation as a part of the Centenary of Federation. He traces the tortuous political path to federation, including links to personalities in Maitland and the Hunter Valley. An excellent summary and overview with links the Hunter. 28pp
Glove Box Guide to the Paterson Valley
A definitive guide to leisure drives in the Valley, 48 pages in full colour, with lots of photos. Based on 35 years of experience in the valley, Cameron shares the secrets, delights and details of this special place – from Morpeth in the south, right through to the very cradle of the valley in the high country of Mount Allyn in the Barrington Tops National Park. The book fits in the glove box and includes a map and advice about checking road conditions. There are also web sites for further information.