Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie

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Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie
Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie

Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell, youngest daughter of second cousin of Lachlan Macquarie, said "yes" when Lachlan asked her to marry him in 1805. His proposal was conditional that she waited until his return from a tour of duty in India as he did not want his bride to have to live away from Scotland. On November 3, 1807 the couple were married and settled into family life. Lachlan was in command of the 73rd regiment and received instructions to prepare for overseas service to Botany Bay, New South Wales supporting the new governor, Miles Nightingall who was to replace William Bligh. Nightingall refused the appointment and Lachlan Macquarie applied for the position.

Elizabeth Macquarie calmly prepared for departure to a distant land with the knowledge she would be first lady of a settlement that had been established only 22 years earlier. She included a number of books on architecture in her luggage which proved farsighted.

The arrival of the new governor in Port Jackson was heralded by cannon salutes between ships and shore batteries. The 73rd regiment marched off their ships and together with the 102nd (Rum Corps) regiment lined the road leading from Sydney Cove landing to government house. The official party walked between the lines of soldiers with the ladies of the colony eagerly examining Mrs Macquarie's wardrobe. Elizabeth knew she would be hostess to many official functions and proved to be skilled in organising dinners using local foods.

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.