National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Lachlan Macquarie (1761-1824)

Lachlan Macquarie (1761-1824)

Army officer and colonial governor

Lachlan Macquarie was born on the Hebridean island of Ulva, near Mull. He joined the army as a boy and served in the British colonies. Initially he served in America and then, from 1787 to 1801, in India. At the start of the new century he fought against Napoleon's forces in Egypt. Appointed Governor-General of New South Wales in 1810 his sound administration of the former penal colony for the next eleven years ensured public works and a greater parity of the rights of ex-convicts and free settlers. However, his administration had its detractors, and he resigned his office in 1821 after the publication of a critical report commissioned by the British Government. He returned first to Scotland, but died in London in 1824. He is buried on the island of Mull. His reputation was restored by later generations, and his name is preserved in a number of topographical features in Australia.

Testament of Major General Lachlan Macquarrie of Jervisfield

National Records of Scotland, SC51/32/2 pp 200-201

In his will Macquarie leaves a generous gift to his Indian servant, who was given the name George Jarvis. His master commends his service to him 'in every quarter of the globe'. He also expresses his wish that his son should be educated at the best schools in England. This would be to ensure that his son would not have to strive as hard as he had done for his position in governmental administration. His hope that his family would live 'long-long' after his death was not realised. His second wife, Elizabeth Henrietta, died in 1835, and his namesake, his 'beloved darling son', a decade later, aged only 32.

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