Return to Britain | State Library of New South Wales

Return to Britain Return to Britain

‘It has ever been my study to benefit these Settlements by every means in my power.’
Lachlan Macquarie, 1822

By early 1820, Macquarie, who had been seriously ill, was ‘heartily tired’ of his situation and tendered his resignation. On 15 February 1822 he sailed for England on the Surry but his return was marred by the publication of Bigge’s reports. To Macquarie they were ‘false, malicious and vindictive’ and he spent the rest of his life attempting to restore his reputation.

Macquarie was guided by principles of humanity and justice. He viewed New South Wales as ‘a Penitentiary or Asylum on a Grand Scale’ where, having expiated their crimes, former convicts could prosper and achieve respectability. In time, he believed, it would move beyond its convict origins to become one of Britain’s most flourishing colonies and he had directed his efforts towards this end.

In 1824 Macquarie learned that he had been denied a knighthood but granted an annual pension of £1000 for his services. Five weeks later, on 1 July, he died in his London lodgings.

Lachlan Macquarie. Extracts from his farewell speech, 1 December 1821

(Sydney Gazette, 1 December 1821)
On his final day in office Macquarie made a farewell speech to the inhabitants of Sydney at a special ceremony in Hyde Park.

File size: 4.57 MB | Duration: 00:07:20

Lachlan Macquarie. Journal of a Voyage from New South Wales to England in 1822 (ML A 775)

Macquarie departed from Sydney for England on Tuesday 12 February 1822. In this extract from his journal he describes his last hours before he embarked on the Surry.

File size: 1.44 MB | Duration: 00:02:35

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...

Quick Links