Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Australians and Macquarries can now stay overnight on Ulva to celebrate the "Father of Australia"

Our new member Hostel on Ulva now allows Australians to stay overnight on the Island where the “Father of Australia” Lachlan Macquarie was born in 1762.  Few people know about the link between the Isles of Ulva and Mull and the significance of the standing and immense character of Lachlan Macquarie who was the enlightened Governor of New South Wales for 11 years.  Ulva is a tiny, privately owned idyllic island lying just off the coast of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The connection between these Isles and Lachlan Macquarie is an inspirational and poignant story.

Lachlan Macquarie left his Hebrides home as a young lad: he enroled in the American War of Independence aged 16.  His impressive military career lasted over 30 years and took him to many corners of the globe.  But his early life was tinged with tragedy; the death of his first wife of tuberculosis after only three years of marriage left him depressed and he returned to Mull.  There he met Elizabeth Campbell, who in 1807 became his second wife. Macquarie was soon after offered the position of Governor of New South Wales by the British Crown and he went back to Australia in 1809.

His legacy is inspirational and is crediting for shaping modern Australia.  As Governor he set about transforming a society that was starving, with no proper infrastructure or community values. Critically he identified the importance of education in building a nation. He created an environment in which commerce and manufacturing could flourish introducing coinage and establishing the colony’s first bank “The Bank of New South Wales” in 1817.  One of his main priorities was public health, very aware of the link between poverty, disadvantage, sickness and crime.  Many believe that it was Macquarie’s example of tolerance and humanity that set the spirit of egalitarianism and sense of fair play that is considered a defining characteristic of the Australian people today.

Lachlan Macquarie retired as Governor in 1822 and died in London 1824 while defending himself against  Commissioner J.T Bigge's damning report on his administration which he felt was too liberal. But Macquarie’s reputation continued to grow after his death and today he is regarded by many as the most enlightened and progressive of the early Governors who sought to establish Australia as a country, rather than as a prison camp

Macquarie was buried on the Isle of Mull in a remote mausoleum which is maintained by the National Trust of Australia and is inscribed "The Father of Australia". Macquarie formally adopted the name Australia for the continent, the name earlier proposed by the first circumnavigator of Australia, Matthew Flinders. As well as the many geographical features named after him in his lifetime, he is commemorated by Macquarie University in Sydney.

Click here for more information on
Ulva Hostel

More information on the Ulva and Macquarie clan link can be found here> and click here for information on the Macquarie Mausoleum on Mull.