"So the institution described as 'Australia's most radical and unconventional university', carried the name of the staunch Scots Tory and High Anglican soldier who had governed New South Wales at the height of the convict era. What counted with the Cabinet no doubt were his achievements as a builder, his humanitarianism and his interest in education."

Liberality of Opportunity: A History of Macquarie University 1964-1989, Bruce Mansfield and Mark Hutchinson, Macquarie University in association with Hale & Iremonger (1992).

Naming of the University

The name to be chosen for Sydney's third metropolitan university came down to two different schools of thought - those who wanted to commemorate a great Australian figure in education, and those who preferred a geographical name. In 1964, the NSW State Cabinet chose in favour of naming the university after a prominent Australian. In the end, Governor Lachlan Macquarie was chosen ahead of suggestions which included WC Wentworth and Sir Henry Parkes.

You can learn more about Lachlan Macquarie's influence on Australia and his life and background on this site, but why not visit Macquarie University's Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie Archive which provides transcripts, artefacts, images and historical details in a digital gateway into the lives and times of the Macquaries in the period 1761-1835.


Macquarie Lighthouse and Sirius

Macquarie Lighthouse was the first lighthouse built in Australia. Shortly after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, Governor Phillip ordered a flagstaff be erected to signal the approach of supply ships bound for Sydney Cove. A beacon, fired firstly by wood, later by coal, was built in 1791 to guide vessels to the harbour entrance by night, becoming Australia's first marine light. This beacon, tended by convicts, provided guidance for shipping for the next 25 years.

On 13 July 1816, Governor Lachlan Macquarie laid the foundation stone of the new lighthouse. The lighthouse was to be the first of many significant works by the convict architect Francis Greenway. The present building is a replica built in 1880 by Colonial Architect James Barnet. However the original building was not demolished until 1883 so, for a time, Sydney's South Head boasted two almost identical lighthouses standing side by side.

The first light keeper was Robert Watson, after whom nearby Watson's Bay was named. He had been quartermaster aboard HMS Sirius in the First Fleet.

The Arms of Macquarie University


The arms of the University shall be on a field vert, the Macquarie lighthouse tower, masoned proper, in chief the star Sirius, or. Motto: And gladly teche.

Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
 Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
 And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
 And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
 Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
 And gladly wolde he lerne
 and gladly teche.

(from the general Prologue toThe Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer c. 1400)

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