Mull born ‘Father’ of Australia gets TV documentary

It seems that Major General Lachlan Macquarie, born on the island of Ulva, a few hundred metres off Mull in 1761, is going to get some much deserved media attention in early 2011. Macquarie was the fifth Governor of New South Wales in Australia taking over the penal colony of Botany Bay in 1810. It’s widely recorded that he was the first Governor to treat the country as more than a dumping ground for prisoners and to see it as a valuable British colony.

Argyll News reports that Caledonia TV spent a week filming on Mull as part of the documentary, including a wreath-laying ceremony by New South Wales’ current (37th) Governer, Professor Marie Bashir at Macquarie’s Mausoleum on Mull.

It’s another of those not very well known stories about Scottish adventurers who played a major part in helping shape the modern world we know today. The Macquarie Mausoleum is about 40 to 50 minutes drive from Beach House via the scenic route to Salen on the B8035.

You can see it on this map: The Macquarie Mausoleum.

P.S. — Just found out that there is also a new book out talking about Lachlan Macquarie and his exploits. In a book review Christine Salins says, “Lachlan Macquarie became Governor of NSW in 1810, making 2010 the bicentenary of that event and a year in which the NSW Government has planned a state wide calendar of events to celebrate the occasion.

Dillon and Butler’s book is timely, providing readers whose interest may be sparked by the 200th anniversary with an insightful account of Macquarie’s governorship from 1810 to 1821 and a fascinating examination of the most influential man in Australia’s early history.

Given what Macquarie first encountered in Sydney in 1810 in the wake of the Rum Rebellion, his achievements during that time are astonishing. He was the first Governor to officially celebrate “Australia Day” and to consistently adopt the name “Australia” when referring to the colony.

As the title of the book implies, Macquarie’s vision began the transformation of what was a penal colony, with little other purpose than to provide England with a means for offloading the social and economic burden of its convicts, into a country with real potential and opportunity for both emancipists and free settlers alike.

You can read the full review here and there’s also a Macquarie website here.

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