Son of Thomas and Sarah Archey.
Thomas and Sarah Archey, moved to New Zealand in 1893, leaving on the SS Ruahine on the 11th February. They settled in Auckland, where Thomas was employed as a teacher. Later the family moved to Canterbury when Thomas took up a position as the Manager of the Burnham Industrial School. Gilbert Archey had six siblings; Hilda, Nora, Marjorie, Phyllis, Basil and Eric.
Gilbert was educated at the Christchuch West District High School, where he recieved a 1st Class certificate in Standard V1. He joined the Territorials in 1909, In January 1910 he gained his Teacher's Certificate and then became a student at the Christchurch Training College, where he achieved in Exhib. in Biology, he won the College Steeplechase and was secretary of the Tennis Club, and executive of the Student Association and represented Canterbury in Soccer. He then attended the Caterbury University College where he received a Bachelor of Arts, while here he studied numerous subjects including Latin, History, Biology, Literature and Education.
He was briefly a teacher at Nelson College, but then became an Assistant Curator at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.
In 1914, he obtained his Masters of Arts with honours in Zoology, and was under the tutelage of Professor Charles Chilton.
On the 27th January 1915 Gilbert married Myrtle Florence Gee and they had three children, Jocelyn in 1915, Alson in 1920 and Jill in 1930.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Gilbert was the Assistant Curator at the Canterbury Museum, he returned to this position in 1920. However, he also served as a Divisional Education Officer in 1918.
In 1922 he became the Assistant lecturer of Zoology at Canterbury Collge, he was also the Honourable Secretary of the Canterbury Philharmonic Society, and a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA.
In 1924 Gilbert was appointed director of the Auckland Institute and Museum, he retired from the Auckland Institute in 1964. Gilbert Archey oversaw much of the building of the museum, which opened on the 28th November 1929.
During the Second World War he was Seconded to the South East Asia Command, Civil Affairs section where he worked with the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program from 1945-1946.
He was awarded an honorary DSc in 1941 (Doctor of Science) for his study on the Moa, he served on the University Grants Commitee, President of Royal Commonwealth Society, Auckland Branch. He also served on the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council: The NZ Commission for UNESCO, The Maori Purposes Fund Board, The Waitangi National Trust, was a member of the Auckland Cathedral Chapter, member of the Auckland Rotary Club, Northern Club and of York Lodge.
Gilbert Archey was appointed a CBE in 1958, and created Knight Bachelor in 1963. After 40 years of Directorship at the Auckland Museum he was appointed Director Emeritus on his retirement. AWMM