Governor of New South Wales Governor of New South Wales

In 1808 Governor William Bligh was overthrown. The 73rd Regiment, under Macquarie’s command, was ordered to New South Wales to replace the rebellious New South Wales Corps.

Brigadier-General Miles Nightingall was chosen to succeed Bligh, but resigned due to ill health. Macquarie applied to take his place, and learnt of his successful appointment during a chance meeting.

‘I met Lord Castlereagh by accident this afternoon in Berkeley Square – and he informed me that I was to be appointed Govr. of New South Wales.’
Lachlan Macquarie, 1809

Macquarie assumed office in Sydney on New Year’s Day 1810. After his commission was read out and he had sworn the usual oaths of allegiance, he assured the new settlement he would exercise his authority with justice and impartiality.

Macquarie’s first year passed busily and harmoniously. Expecting to find the colony rent by faction as a result of the late rebellion, he was surprised to discover it ‘in a state of perfect tranquility’.

By the close of the year he had instituted measures to remodel the civil administration, improve public morality, encourage religious observance and education, restrict the use of spirits and regulate town planning.

Lachlan Macquarie.  First public speech, 1 January 1810

(Sydney Gazette, 7 January 1810)  
Following his swearing-in as governor, Macquarie addressed the assembled inhabitants of Sydney.

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