Lachlan Macquarie

Lachlan Macquarie ( born January 31, 1762 the Isle of Mull, an island of the Hebrides (partly also the island of Ulva is given as place of birth ); † July 1, 1824 in London) was from 1810 to 1821 Governor of New South Wales and is partially regarded as the founder of Australia.


He joined the army in 1776 and served in the following years in North America, India, Sri Lanka and Egypt. After he had carried the rank of captain 12 years, he intended to leave the army. However, to him, the leadership of the young and not very well-established colony of New South Wales on January 1, 1810 in the succession of the former Governor William Bligh, who had lost his office after the so-called Rum Rebellion in January 1808 transferred. His task was to regain British control of the colony and establish the discipline.

Development of the infrastructure of the colony

As Macquarie arrived in Sydney in December 1809, he found a chaotic situation. The colony at that time had only about 5,000 European residents. She was still fighting for survival and was basically little more than the penal colony, was established there on 26 January 1788.

Macquarie was the first governor of the colony, who came from the army and not the navy. He led the colony in enlightened despotic manner. First, he deposed the officers of the New South Wales Corps, such as John Macarthur, who had led the colony since the deposition of William Bligh. His leadership was also marked by the principle of equal treatment of former prisoners and free settlers. Thus, the former prisoner Francis Greenway was the architect of many buildings in the young colony.

Macquarie solved in 1813 the problem of Münzgeldmangels in the early colony, when he bought up Spanish silver coins, the silver dollar was worth 10,000 Shillings and it minted two coins by out danced the center and thus two coins produced, the Holey Dollar and Dump. Thus, he created the conditions that other means of payment such as foreign coins and rum were pushed back as payment.

Macquarie was one of the first to see more than a prison colony in Australia's future. New South Wales was part of the British Empire, would live in the free citizens for him. Following this vision, he was responsible for the construction of roads, bridges, wharves, churches and public buildings. Macquarie appointed in 1814 William Cox to build the 163 km long road through the Blue Mountains. He ordered the construction of some of Sydney's oldest buildings that still stand today, such as the Hyde Park Barracks. He ordered the posting of judges in remote outposts such as Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania ) or the Bay of Islands (now New Zealand). He founded new cities such as Richmond, Windsor, Pitt Town and Castlereagh.

On a visit to Hobart Town (now Hobart ) on the Derwent River in Van Diemen's Land, he was appalled by the state of disrepair of the city and ordered the surveyor John Meehan to design a floor plan for the city. The former planning can still be found again in the road network of the city of Hobart.

Social policy

After the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the sea lanes were clear again. This and the rising unemployment and crime figures in the UK led to a new wave of both prisoners and free settlers. The population of the colony grew until his dismissal to about 35,000 people. Not least thanks to the led by Macquarie infrastructure development, the colony was able to expand so. The colony has developed in his tenure away from a purely penal colony. For Macquarie therefore the change in the existing social policy was necessary.

The central approach of his policy was the equal treatment of former convicts whose sentence had expired or had been pardoned. As Macquarie in 1810, arrived in Australia, the number was greater than that of the free settlers.

In addition to the appointment of Francis Greenway to the chief architect of the colony, he appointed Dr. William Redfern to the top doctor. Other steps that displeased the free settlers were the appointment of Andrew Thompson to the judge and the invitation of former prisoners to tea in his residence, the Government House. In return for the concessions expected Macquarie by former inmates an " ordinary " life, particularly " proper " marriages.

Exploration of the continent

Macquarie has driven the exploration of the Australian continent in a special way. After numerous failed attempts in the first 25 years of the colony succeeded the explorers Gregory Blaxland delegated by him, William Charles Wentworth and William Lawson in 1813 to find a way through the Blue Mountains. These were formed as part of the Great Dividing Range is a natural barrier to the spread of the colony. In the following period the interior could be colonized. First, Macquarie ordered the establishment of Bathurst, the first inland city. Then he appointed John Oxley to the top surveyor and sent him on expeditions along the coast of New South Wales to the north, to find new rivers and new land. Oxley discovered, among other things, the river systems of northern New South Wales. In today's Queensland he discovered, for example, the location of the capital Brisbane.

Lachlan Macquarie loved it when things bore his name. He attended the naming of many places, streets, islands, ports, a university after himself, his wife and other relatives that his name to posterity remained particularly present. Macquarie himself was the one who introduced the name Australia. Although Matthew Flinders had suggested the name before, but Macquarie was the first to use it in an official report in 1817.

End as governor

Macquarie's reforms, particularly the equal treatment of former convicts and the wasteful use of money from the Crown for public works earned him an opposition both in the Colony and in London. The government in London considered the colony merely as a place to dump convicts, overcrowded British prisons.

In a letter to the Colonial Secretary, who was later given against him, he wrote that " the free settlers dissatisfied by far the country's people are" and that " ex-convicts in many cases, a pattern of a settler " are. The leader of the free settlers such as William Charles Wentworth and Macarthur complained to London about Macquarie's policy. This meant that the British Government the English judges John Thomas Bigge to New South Wales sent in 1819 to examine the relationships. Bigge agreed with the settlers agreed and its report led eventually to abdicate Macquarie on 1 December 1821. At this time he had been longer than any of his predecessors in office. Bigge also suggested that future governors were not allowed to rule as sole ruler. Therefore, it was founded in 1825, the New South Wales Legislative Council, the first legislative body in Australia to advise the governor.

Back in the UK

Macquarie returned to Scotland and died in 1824. During this time he still had to defend itself against the allegations bigges. His reputation grew, however, after his death, especially among former prisoners of the colony and their descendants, who formed the majority of the population of Australia to the phases of the Gold Rush. Today, he is often regarded as the founder of Australia as a country as opposed to the penal colony. The care of his tomb on the Scottish island of Mull has taken the National Trust of Australia. On his grave stone is "The Father of Australia ".