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The Macquarie Mausoleum on Mull
The Macquarie Mausoleum on Mull

Major General Lachlan Macquarie, CB, lived from 31 January 1762 to 1 July 1824. An alternative Gaelic version of his name is Lachlan MacGuaire. He became Governor of New South Wales and has often been described as "The Father of Australia." The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.

Lachlan Macquarie
Lachlan Macquarie
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Lachlan Macquarie was born on the island of Ulva off the coast of Mull on 31 January 1762. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and joined the army in 1776, becoming a junior officer in the 84th Regiment of Foot. He subsequently served in North America, Egypt and India, and by 1805 he had risen to command the 73rd Regiment of Foot.

In November 1807, Macquarie married his cousin Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell. In April 1809 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales with instructions to restore order after a rebellion against the previous governor, William Bligh (better remembered for being captain of HMS Bounty at the time of the famous mutiny).

Macquarie served as Governor of New South Wales until 1821 and did much during his tenure to help shape Australia into the country it has since become. He was also the first person to use the name "Australia" in an official document, which he did in 1817. Explorers of this new continent soon discovered that a good way to gain the support of the governor was to name something after him, so by the time he left Australia, Lachlan Macquarie was remembered in the names of Macquarie River, Lachlan River, Mount Macquarie, Lake Macquarie, Port Macquarie, Lachlan, Macquarie Harbour, Macquarie Pass, Macquarie Lighthouse and Macquarie Island. This list excludes assorted parishes, streets and other minor features which also bear his name, including an Australian parliamentary constituency. It also excludes Macquarie Hospital, Macquarie University, and Macquarie Bank, all of which were named after him in the latter half of the 1900s, an indication of the continuing regard with which he is held in Australia. Meanwhile, his wife was remembered in the name of Elizabeth Bay.

Lachlan Macquarie died in London in 1824 and was returned to Mull for burial. His mausoleum describes him, without exaggeration, as "The Father of Australia."

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