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The Provenance of the Macquarie Papers

The Macquarie family papers held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney have been acquired from a number of different sources at various times in the twentieth century. It is, however, a historical certainty that the journals transcribed here, as part of the Journeys in Time 1809 -1822 project must have accompanied Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie on their return voyage to England from New South Wales in 1822.

They were, in the main, private documents that did not constitute part of any official record group or archive, and as such were personal effects that would have been amongst those items conveyed back to Scotland, in either September 1822, or November 1823.

Lachlan Macquarie:
After Lachlan Macquarie's death in 1824 his journals formed part of his estate, which passed to his son, Lachlan; in whose custody, or that of his mother, they remained until her death in 1835, and with him until his premature death in 1845.

Lachlan Macquarie, Jnr. formed a close friendship with William Drummond, the eldest son of James Drummond, 8th Viscount Strathallan (whom Lachlan Macquarie, Snr. had appointed as his son's legal guardian and executor of his estate in 1815). After the death of his mother in 1835 Lachlan Jnr. borrowed heavily from William Drummond and to liquidate his debts he left all his lands and belongings to his friend, and made him his trustee. Consequently when Lachlan fell to his death down the stairs of Craignish Castle on 7 May 1845 his estates of 'Jarvisfield' and 'Glenforsa,' together with his father's journals and letter-books passed into the hands of the future 9th Viscount Strathallan. [Though it should be noted that the terms of his Will were vigorously contested in court, though unsuccessfully, by Charles Macquarie, eldest son of Charles Macquarie (younger brother to Governor Lachlan Macquarie).

These journals were subsequently obtained, in January 1914, from Margaret, Viscountess Strathallan (widow of James David Drummond 10th Viscount Strathallan) , by private purchase on behalf of the Mitchell Library before they reached auction at Messrs Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge.

[See also: Biskup, Peter. "The Strange Case of the Manuscripts of Major General Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales." Journal of Australian Studies. No.23 Nov.1988, pp.79 -93].

Elizabeth Macquarie:
Elizabeth Macquarie's 1809 'Journal of the Voyage from England to New South Wales' was acquired in Scotland, in June 1914, from Colonel Campbell - a relative of Isabella Campbell (daughter of Colin Campbell of Jura) and wife of Lachlan Macquarie Jnr.

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