Aboriginal relations | State Library of New South Wales

Aboriginal Relations Aboriginal Relations

‘It has long been in Serious Contemplation with me to Endeavour to Civilize the Aborigines.’
Lachlan Macquarie, 1814

Conscious that Aborigines had been expelled from their traditional lands by British settlers, Macquarie determined to improve their condition and reward those who showed an inclination to be 'civilised'.

In 1814 Macquarie set up the Native Institution to educate Aboriginal children, which he launched at Parramatta. Despite its early promise the Institution had only limited success because parents objected to its policy of not letting them see their children. In another attempt to ‘civilize’ the Aborigines, Macquarie settled Bungaree and 15 of his people at George’s Head on Sydney Harbour’s northern shore where they could learn farming. The venture failed. He also established a similar settlement at Blacktown.

In 1816 Macquarie’s paternalism was tested when a small group of Aboriginal people attacked settlers along the Hawkesbury-Nepean River. Reluctantly, he sent a punitive military expedition with orders to capture or kill as many Aborigines as possible. At the end of the short campaign 14 men, women and children lay dead. This massacre has become a dark stain on Macquarie’s reputation.

Lachlan Macquarie. The Governor’s Diary & Memorandum Book Commencing on and from Wednesday the 10th Day of April 1816 at Sydney in N.S. Wales (ML A 773)

On 10 April 1816 Macquarie recorded his instructions for a punitive expedition against the hostile Aborigines who had attacked settlers along the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.

File size: 2.58 MB | Duration: 00:04:01

To listen to an audio recording, click the play button play button. To download the file to your desktop, right-click the title link and choose Save Target As...

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