Lachlan Macquarie was the Governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1 January 1810 to 30 November 1821. He was forward thinking and played a large part in the colony’s transition to a free settlement. He was responsible for the creation of the first official currency of the colony; the first official use of the name “Australia”; the street plan upon which the central city of Sydney was founded and the creation of the Bank of New South Wales. Governor Macquarie was also a great supporter of early explorers and oversaw many expeditions which opened up the interior of the country.
Convicts whose sentences had been completed or who had received pardons were known as emancipists, and Governor Macquarie recognised that many of them had useful skills and talents. He employed several emancipists in important government positions. Francis Greenway became Australia’s first colonial architect and designed many buildings which can still be seen in Sydney, and William Redfern was a leading surgeon and personal doctor to Governor Macquarie.
Lachlan Macquarie returned to Scotland at the end of his governorship and died there in 1824. He is buried on Mull and his headstone reads “The Father of Australia”.
Macquarie Place, a small park in central Sydney, is named after Governor Macquarie. This obelisk in the park, designed by Francis Greenway, was erected in 1818 to mark the point from which all distances in the colony were measured.
What would Lachlan Macquarie say if he could see how far forward this nation has moved since then?