Regimental Colours

Regimental Colours

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Regimental Colours

In 1809 Lachlan Macquarie was Colonel of the 73rd Regiment when he was appointed governor of New South Wales. In 1807 the 73rd had received new colours and accoutrements from Lieut-General George Harris. These were the colours taken to New South Wales and of which no trace now remains.

LMR-Regimental Colours FlagReplica Size
Width: 188 cm (74") Height: 165 cm (65")

This replica hangs on the walls of the Lachlan Macquarie Room, and represents the regimental colours and accoutrements as they would have been in 1807, and includes the battle honours won by the 73rd Regiment in India at Mangalore (1783-84):


and Seringapatam (1799).


These colours were presented to the University in 1988 by the Macquarie University Sub-Branch of the RSL as part of the Australian Bicentennial celebrations. These colours were also paraded during the years 1991-2001 in Macquarie Street, Sydney as part of a special ceremony commemorating Lachlan Macquarie's birthday (January 31).


Additional Background Information:
After the return of the 2 Battalion of the 73rd Regiment to Britain in 1815, and its disbandment at Chelmsford on 4 May 1817, the regimental colours were retired - or possibly accompanied those 300 men of the regiment who volunteered for service in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The men of the 1st Battalion of the 73rd Regiment had been serving on the island since mid-1814. Regimental losses were extremely high in the succeeding years, mainly from tropical diseases; and consequently, when the regiment finally returned to Britain in November 1821, there were very few of the original 2/73rd Waterloo veterans among their numbers.

It is uncertain which set of 'colours' returned to Britain in 1821 - those from New South Wales (1/73rd) or 2/73rd (Waterloo), however, at some time prior to 1830 Lady Mary O'Connell (wife of Sir Maurice O'Connell who commanded the 73rd from 1809 to 1830) made a presentation of new colours to the regiment. These still exist, although repaired and 'restored'. No trace remains of the old King's colours.

An illustration appears in a book dated 1851 that shows the regimental colours with the three battle honours: 'Mangalore', 'Seringapatam', and 'Waterloo'.(See: Historical Record of the Seventy-Third Regiment compiled by Richard Cannon. London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker 1851); while, more recently, there is a colour illustration of the colours to be found in the publication: The 2/73rd At Waterloo: including a Roll of all Ranks Present with Biographical Notes. Compiled by Alan Lagden and John Sly. Brightlingsea, Essex: Privately Published, 1998 [2nd ed.].

On 5 August 1917, Miss Mary B. O'Connell presented the colours that had been in her family's possession (since at least 1885) to St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. In 1964 the Cathedral decided to present them to the Black Watch Museum, Perth, Scotland (located at the Regimental Headquarters of the Black Watch in Balhousie Castle, Perth). Unfortunately the 'restored' version of the colours has not preserved the original arrangement, although it is difficult to determine at what stage these changes were made:

Firstly, the Regimental number badge, battle honours, Union wreath, and a remnant of the Union canton have been taken off the old flag and placed on a fresh piece of green silk. This fabric is approx. 4 feet square rather than 5 ft 6 inches by 6 feet that the original would have been.

Other inaccuracies include:

  • the badges and honours are placed parallel to the pole and not at right angles to it
  • the title LXXIII REGT is placed on a red shield
  • the scroll with the word 'WATERLOO' has been shaped to form a 'V' shape, close-fitted to the point of the shield
  • the two scrolls with the words 'SERINGAPATAM' and 'MANGALORE' have been placed above and below the Regimental shield rather than either side
  • only one quarter of the Union canton is left, evenly cut down the centre of two arms of the St George's Cross and the edges are sewn along the pole and top of the flag so that the original centre of the cross is the absolute corner of the flag.

These are unfortunate modifications to the original design of the 'colours'.

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Content owner: Library Last updated: 05 Sep 2019 11:23am

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