Australian History Major General
At Gruline just outside the village of
Salen is the Macquarie Mausoleum which houses the remains of Lachlan
Macquarie, his wife Elizabeth and his son also named Lachlan.
Mention his name throughout Britain and
very few people would know who he was and quite a lot of people on Mull
would also probably not be able to tell you either. But mention his name
in Australia and it would be very different indeed.
Born on the island of Ulva off the west
coast of Mull on 31 January 1762, his father Lachlan Macquerie, was a
cousin of the sixteenth and last chieftain of the clan Macquarie and his
mother Margaret was the only sister of Murdoch Maclaine chieftain of
Lochbuie on Mull. Lachlan was one of four brothers: Hector (died 1778);
Donald (died 1801); and Charles (died 1835). Lachlan began his army
career at the age of 14 when he joined the British army as a volunteer
in 1776. In 1777 he obtained an ensigncy in the 2nd battalion
of the 84th Regiment, known as the Royal Highland Emigrants,
and was posted to North America where he did garrison duty, first in
Nova Scotia, and then in New York and Charleston. He was commissioned a
lieutenant in the 71st Regiment in January 1781. In 1784 he
returned to Scotland from his posting in Jamaica, and was reduced to
half pay. Then in 1787, as a lieutenant in the 77th Regiment,
he began a long association with India, remaining there until 1801. In
1793 he married Jane Jarvis, but their marriage proved to be brief and
childless as Jane died on 15 July 1796 of tuberculosis.
In 1801, while military secretary to
Jonathon Duncan, Governor of Bombay, Macquarie was appointed deputy
adjutant general to the 8000 strong army, under the command of Major
General David Baird, that was sent to Egypt to defeat Napoleon and expel
Macquarie returned to England in 1803 to
attend to financial matters, but in 1805 he returned to India where he
was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 73rd Regiment.
After serving in northern India until 1806 he decided to return to
Britain carrying government despatches. After sailing from Bombay to the
Persian Gulf, where he narrowly escaped drowning, he then travelled
overland to London via Baghdad and St Petersburg.
However the real reason for his return
was to marry his distant cousin Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell of Airds
whom he had met in 1804. They married on 3rd November 1807.
The bride was 29, and the groom 46. She had a daughter, Jane, in
September 1808 but she died on 4th December the same year.
In April 1809 Macquarie was appointed
Governor of New South Wales to replace William Bligh whose governorship
had been wracked with controversy. Macquarie and his wife sailed with
the 73rd Regiment from Portsmouth in the storeship Dromedary,
escorted by H.M.S. Hindostan on 22nd May 1809, they arrived
at Port Jackson on 28th December 1809 and he took up his
commission as governor on 1st January 1810.
Right from the start Macquarie saw the
colony as a settled community and not just as a penal settlement.
However his term of office also coincided with an increase in the number
of convicts sent to the colony. He commenced an ambitious programme of
public works with new buildings, towns and roads to help absorb these
numbers. He also extended the practice of ticket-of-leave for convicts.
This brought him into conflict with an influential conservative section
of the local society who sought to restrict civil rights and judicial
privileges to itself. Many of these free settlers also had influential
friends in English political circles.
This caused Macquarie a great deal of
frustration and coupled with recurring bouts of illness this led him to
submit his resignation on several occasions. A serious illness in 1819
almost proved fatal, and the pressures of a commission of inquiry into
the state of the colony, headed by J.T. Bigge, reinforced his desire to
end his term of office and return home so that he could defend the
charges made against his administration. At the end of 1820 he learnt
that his third application for resignation had been accepted but it was
not until 12th February 1822 that he and his wife and son
Lachlan departed for England. Elizabeth had given birth to her son after
having had six miscarriages on 28th March 1814.
In 1822-23 he took Elizabeth and Lachlan,
with servants and a tutor on a grand tour through France, Italy and
Switzerland because he was worried about Elizabeths health. In
January 1824 he finally retired with his family to his estate on Mull.
In April 1824 he went to London as a
number of matters still remained to be resolved with the government and
he also wanted to secure the pension that he had been promised.
Unfortunately he suffered a recurrence of the bowel disorder that was a
legacy of his service in India.
Elizabeth hurried down to London from
Mull and was just in time to see him before he died at 49 Duke Street,
St James on 1st July 1824.
The Mausoleum which was erected over
Lachlans grave by his wife in around 1834 is owned by The National Trust
of Australia (NSW). The panel at the southern end of the Mausoleum is a
memorial to Lachlan Macquarie himself and the panel at the northern end
is to Lachlan, his wife Elizabeth and their children.
On 7th June 2000, the
Australian Prime Minister, Mr. Howard, announced in London that the
Macquarie Bank of Australia had donated 70,000 Australian dollars for
the mausoleum to be refurbished and this was being carried out in the
summer of 2000.
Lachlan Macquarie is so famous in
Australia that his name has been used for just about everything. There
is Macquarie University, Macquarie Island, Macquarie River, Macquarie
Streets, Macquarie Hills, Macquarie Pass, Macquarie Grove Aerodrome,
Macquarie Falls, Fort Macquarie, Macquarie Plains, Mount Macquarie, Port
Macquarie, Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Galleries, and even Macquarie
Garage and Macquarie Teashop.
Trailer for drama documentary
Lachlan Macquarie: The Father of Australia. He was the Scotsman who
changed the penal colony of New South Wales into the community that was
to become Australia.
This article was kindly provided by Linda Crossley
who runs Dunvegan Cottage B &
Isle of Mull, where the Macquarie Mausoleum is located.
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