Students' Notebook, Governor Macquarie

The Argus, Melbourne

22 December 1956

Students' Notebook -   Governor Macquarie was a forward-looking man. He was concerned with what the little colony would become in the future.

His ideas on this subject were quite clear. He didn't believe that gentleman settlers with large properties were for the good of the colony.

He wanted to settle ex-convicts on the land. These people, he felt, and their descendants would make real peasant proprietors and become devoted to the land of their adoption.

He made certain conditions about land holding. When land was granted to a man it could not be transferred for at least five years. Some of it at least should be cleared and a reasonable part cultivated.

These ideas were simpler to state than to enforce. When free settlers came, with letters from the British government, ordering him to give them land in proportion to their capital. Macquarie found himself in difficulties.

What is now Burwood - a Sydney suburb - along the eastern bound ary of the Parramatta road north ward to include Concord and Rhodes, was divided into lots varying from 80 to 120 acres for free settlers after 1793.

In 1804, Macarthur was promised 10,000 acres, and other men of capital from two to 3,000.

The stage was set for a twofold development - that of graziers raising sheep and cattle on large holdings, and smallholders raising crops.

Governor Macquarie was an active man. He personally visited much of the colony and encourage exploration.

Lawson, Blaxland, Wentworth crossed the Blue Mountains (1813) and William Cox cut the road to Bathurst.

Evans and Oxley explored the western slopes and discovered the Liverpool plains.

By 1820, the colony had extended its frontiers 300 miles north to south, and 400 east to west. No mean achievement, considering' the difficulties: of the early days.

Australia has reason to be proud of the efforts of its early pioneers. They were men fit to be compared with any in any other land at any other time.

They faced unknown dangers and overcame immense obstacles. Their work and its importance is not always sufficiently recognised.

The names of Hamilton Hume, who explored the country around Razorback, and Throsby, who discovered the Goulburn plains, can be added to those already mentioned.

These men opened up a new land for the benefit of the future.