MACQUARIE, ELIZABETH HENRIETTA (née CAMPBELL) (b. Airds, Scotland 1778; d. Mull, Scotland, 17 March 1835). Wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie.
Elizabeth Campbell was born to an impoverished landowning family who were second cousins of her future husband. She was educated mainly in London and came under the influence of Dr Samuel Johnson and William Wilberforce. From the former she learnt a respect for church and state and a conviction that Sunday should not be a day of gloom. From the latter she acquired a passion for the redemption of souls and assistance for the needy. She was married in 1807 to Lachlan Macquarie, a widower who was seventeen years her senior. When he was appointed to New South Wales, she insisted that they should both take Communion at St James Church, Piccadilly, as a preparation for their future work. The evangelical concepts of atonement, absolution and redemption which she heartily embraced also influenced Macquarie in his emancipist policy: why shouldn't society forgive the truly repentant, both husband and wife argued. However, vested interests in the colony, led by Macarthur and Marsden, thought otherwise. Marsden (q.v.) attacked her for giving a St Patrick's Day dinner for 58 convicts and overseers employed at Government House.
Her initiative in helping her husband found an Aboriginal school at Parramatta was also greeted coolly by leading settlers. She reported happily that of the thirty pupils at the school, the boys were becoming proficient in gardening and the girls in sewing. Elizabeth was both vivacious and intelligent; she travelled widely with her husband, despite a record of miscarriages; she was a gracious hostess at Government House; her ideas on gardening, architecture and agriculture were often put into practice in the colony. She was at all times supportive of her husband, energetic and compassionate.
Heney, Australia's Founding Mothers (Melbourne, 1978); J Ritchie, Lachlan Macquarie, a Biography (Melbourne, 1986); M H Ellis, Lachlan Macquarie. His Life, Adventures and Times (Sydney, 1947)
Electronic Version © Southern Cross College, 2004
Content © Evangelical History Association of Australia and the author, 2004