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Replica colours, Macquarie University


Closeup of replica

Photos: Macquarie University.
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Lachlan Macquarie: Regimental Colours

Replica Size
Width: 188 cm (74")
Height: 165 cm (65")


The 73rd Regiment of Foot received new colours (their flag) and accoutrements (insignia and decorations) from Lieutenant General George Harris in 1807. Lachlan Macquarie was Colonel of the 73rd Regiment when he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in 1809. The colours presented by Harris were taken to New South Wales, but no trace now remains of them. However, a replica hangs in the Lachlan Macquarie Room at Macquarie University Library. It includes the battle honours won by the 73rd Regiment in India at Mangalore (1783-84) and Seringapatam (1799).

The 2nd Battalion of the 73rd Regiment returned to Britain in 1815, and was disbanded 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.

Which set of colours were returned to Britain in 1821? It's impossible to know if it was the colours from New South Wales (from the 1st Battalion), or the colours from Waterloo (2nd Battalion). No trace remains of the old King's colours.

At some time prior to 1830, Lady Mary O'Connell (wife of Sir Maurice O'Connell, who commanded the 73rd from 1809 to 1830) presented new colours to the regiment. These still exist, although repaired and 'restored'.

An illustration in Historical Record of the Seventy-Third Regiment (1851) shows the regimental colours with the three battle honours: 'Mangalore', 'Seringapatam', and 'Waterloo'. More recently, a colour illustration can be found in The 2/73rd At Waterloo (1998).

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. 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:

See also: Regiments in which Macquarie Served.

Historical Record of the Seventy-Third Regiment, compiled by Richard Cannon. London: Parker, Furnivall & Parker 1851.
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.]

Copyright © 2011 Macquarie University. All rights reserved.

Macquarie University
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National Library of Scotland
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National Museum of Australia
State Records of NSW