Lachlan Macquarie
Australia Crest

Governor of NSW from 1809 to 1822, Macquarie was born on the island of Ulva in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland on 31st January, 1761. He was one of 4 surviving of 6 sons and a daughter. His father was cousin to the chieftan of clan Macquarie and his mother was sister to Murdoch Maclaine, chieftan of Lochbuie in Mull.

In 1772 his father moved the family from Ulva to Mull, where he leased 75 acres from the Duke of Argyll.

His uncle Murdoch paid for his education and in 1776 at age 15, young Lachlan volunteered for the army.

Between 1777 and 1783 he served in the Americas, in Canada and Nova Scotia, New York and Charlestown and then in Jamaica.

He returned to a farmer's life in Mull until he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1787 and sent to India and Ceylon, places where he took part in much military action.

He married in 1793 but his marriage was brief and childless with his wife dying of tuberculosis in China in 1796.

In March 1801 he was made deputy-adjutant-general of an 8,000 strong army sent to Egypt to expel the French.

In 1803 he returned to England and was presented to the King and Queen on two occasions.

In 1805 he returned to India as lieutenant-colonel of the 73rd Regiment. On his return to England he almost drowned in the Persian Gulf.

Aged 46, he married a distant cousin in 1807, Elizabeth Campbell of Airds, and a daughter was born the next year. However, the child lived for less than 3 months.

In 1809 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales, replacing William Bligh. He and his wife sailed with the 73rd Regiment on the storeship Dromedary, escorted by HMS Hindostan from Portsmouth on 22nd May, 1809 and arrived in Sydney town on 28th December, 1809, and taking up his commission as Governor on January 1st, 1810.

In 1815 he established a school for Aboriginal children at Parramatta in an attempt to educate the indigenous population.

Frustration and illness led him to resign twice and after a near fatal illness in 1819, his third resignation was accepted. However, it was not until 12th February, 1822, that he, his wife and almost 8 year old son Lachlan set sail for England.

He took his family and staff on a grand tour of France, Italy and Switzerland in 1822-23, mainly for the health of his wife.

In 1824 he returned to his estate in Mull and in the April went to London to secure his pension when he took ill with strangury, a severe inflamation of the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract.

His family rushed from Scotland in time to be with him at the end.

Lachlan Macquarie died at 49 Duke Street, St. James on July 1st, 1824, aged 63.

Macquarie is buried with his wife Elizabeth (Mrs. Macquarie's Chair) and two children in a mausoleum on the isle of Mull in Scotland, near Gruline the family home of Macquarie.

The mausoleum is supposed to be maintained by the National Trust of Australia.

Governor Macquarie introduced the holey dollar to Australia in the early 1800s to resolve a shortage of coin and to beat the use of rum as a currency. The coin was simply a Spanish dollar with the centre punched out. The punched out centres became a lesser in value coin known as a dump. The holey dollar is now the logo of the Macquarie Bank - visit the bank's services at


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