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  • Title
    Lachlan Macquarie and the Macquarie family aggregated collection of papers, pictorial and other material, 1787-1844
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    Textual Records - (manuscript)
    Textual Records

    Lachlan Macquarie was born on 31 Jan. 1762 on the island of Ulva in the Scottish Hebrides (1). Details of his education are unknown. In 1776 he joined the British Army as a volunteer. He was commissioned the following year and served in Canada, America and Jamaica before being posted to Bombay in 1788 as a lieutenant in the 77th Regiment.
    While in India he saw much active service including the siege of Cochin (1795) and the battle of Seringapatam (1799).

    In 1793 he married Jane Jarvis, a West Indian heiress who was living in Bombay. The marriage was brief as she died of tuberculosis three years later. In 1801, while military secretary to Jonathon Duncan, Governor of Bonthay, Macquarie was appointed deputy-adjutant-general of Sir David Baird’s army in Egypt. In 1803 he returned to England when he acted as assistant-adjutant-general of the London District under the Earl of Harrington. During this period he met Elizabeth Campbell of Airds who became his second wife in 1807. On returning to Bombay in 1805 he learned of his promotion to lieutenant-colonel of the 73rd Regiment. After serving in the north he left India in 1807 for the last time, sailing to the Persian Gulf and then making his way to London via Persia and Russia.
    In 1808 he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in place of William Bligh. The following year he sailed for Sydney accompanied by his wife, entering Port Jackson on 28 December and taking up his commission on 1 January 1810.
    One of his first concerns was to deal with public morality which he considered to be in a deplorable state. He denounced cohabitation outside of marriage, reduced the number of public houses and regulated against profanation of the Sabbath.

    He early perceived the need to expand the boundaries of the colony and strongly encouraged exploration, planning new townships in outlying districts and newly discovered territories. He sought to introduce improved agricultural methods during his own tours of inspection which ranged from Port Macquarie in the north to Hobart in the south. On several of these arduous journeys he was accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie who gave him loyal support throughout his administration of the colony.In 1813 he learned of his promotion to major—general and one year later his son, also named Lachlan, was born.
    Macquarie's administration was particularly notable for his liberal attitude towards emancipists. He believed that ex convicts, where merited, should be restored to their former rank i society. In adopting this policy he appointed emancipists to positions of authority in the public service and even entertained them at Government House, actions, which aroused the hostility of the colonial gentry and the military. This concern was also evident in his policy regarding the Aborigines. He attempted to introduce them to the agricultural methods of Europe, he organised annual native festivals at Parramatta and opened the first school for Aboriginal children.

    His extensive and farsighted public works programme, in which Mrs Macquarie took a keen interest, was also the subject of criticism, this time from the Home Government which considered it far too extravagant. In order to ascertain the true state of the colony the government, in 1810, appointed John Thomas Bigge as commissioner of enquiry. His report issued in 1822-23, contained much criticism of Macquarie's administration, especially his emancipist policy and the magnitude the public works programme. To Macquarie, the report was false vindictive and malicious, but it was not until 1828 that the Government could be induced to publish, as a Parliamentary paper, his answer to Bigge.
  • Collection history
    Macquarie and his family described in this guide comprise all those original items which can be considered to have remained in his personal possession or that of his wife and son. They do not include any items which form part of the collections of other persons. The Macquarie papers have come to the Mitchell Library from many sources. The majority of them including his letter books, 1793 — 1822 and most of his journals, 1807 — 1824, were acquired from Margaret, Viscountess Strathallan in January 1914. A year earlier she had proposed selling her collection at auction through Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge. (A copy of the sale catalogue is located at QA923.59/Ml73/2A1 p.39). However the papers were obtained by private purchase on behalf of the Mitchell Library before the auction took place. It is probable that these papers accompanied Lachlan Macquarie on his return to England from N.S.W. in 1822. On his death in 1824 they formed part of his estate which passed to his son, Lachlan, in whose custody or that of his mother, they presumably remained until Lachlan the younger’s death in 1845. Lachlan the younger left part of his estate, including most of his father’s papers, to his close friend William Henry Drummond, later the 9th Viscount Strathallan. It was from the widow of the 10th Viscount that the papers were subsequently acquired by the Mitchell Library. Another substantial portion of the Macquarie papers, including all except one of Lachlan Macquarie’s Indian journals, 1787 - 1807 and Mrs. Macquarie’s journal, 1809 was acquired in Scotland from Colonel Campbell in June 1914. It seems likely that Colonel Campbell was related to Lachlan the younger’s wife who was the daughter of Cohn Campbell of Jura. A third major body of material, comprising manuscripts, relics, pictures and printed books was presented to the Library by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Graham Campbell of Jura, Argyllshire, Scotland at various times between 1962 and 1976. Mr. Campbell was the great nephew of Lachlan the younger’s wife. The sources of the remaining papers are various and provenance details are given under the entries for each item. In July 2013 the Library acquired two further Macquarie items (Macquarie family travelling medicine chest and a silhouette portrait of Lachlan Macquarie junior) from the great grandson of Lt. Col. Charles Greenhill-Gardyne.
  • Scope and Content
    SERIES 01
    Lachlan Macquarie papers, 1787-1824, being mainly journals, memoranda, correspondence, commission and address

    SERIES 02
    Elizabeth Macquarie journal, 1809 and miscellaneous papers, 1817-1824

    SERIES 03
    Lachlan Macquarie, the younger military commissions, 1831, 1836

    SERIES 04
    Pictorial material and relics of the Macquarie family, 1800-1844

    SERIES 05
    Map of the Macquarie family, 1817

    SERIES 06
    Printed books of the Macquarie family, 1752-1824
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