Lachlan Macquarie

1761 - 1824

Soldier, civil servant and Father of Australia. Born on the island of Ulva (on the west coast of Mull). He joined the army in 1777 and served in the Black Watch in North America, Jamaica, Egypt and India. In 1809, while still a Lieutenant-Colonel, he was appointed to succeed the infamous Captain Bligh as Governor-General of New South Wales (Australia). He was responsible for revitalising this unruly colony, which suffered the depression of its convict population, bringing investment and prosperity. His liberal attitude towards prisoners and the native aborigines set new standards for colonial administration. He developed Sydney into a thriving city, building schools, churches, a hospital and a courthouse. He was responsible for founding an independent newspaper, the first bank and introducing the first system of coinage. It was also Macquarie who adopted the name Australia to refer to the continent. His success brought quick promotions to Colonel in 1810, Brigadier (1811) and Major-General (1813).

However, his success brought jealousy and he resigned following ill health and political manoeuvring which had resulted in censure for his leniency and extravagant public works. Macquarie was succeeded by Sir Thomas Brisbane (1773 - 1860), but still remains one of New South Wales' longest serving Governors.

Macquarie died in London and was buried at Gruline on Mull where the Macquarie Mausoleum is now maintained by the National Trust of Australia.

Many physical features in Australia are named after him, including Port Macquarie, the Macquarie district of Canberra, and the Lachlan and two Macquarie Rivers. The Macquarie Ridge and Macquarie Island lie off Australia's Antarctic Territory.

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