Significant individuals: Governor Macquarie

Topic: The Australian Colonies in the 1800s
Learning Activity
Schools & Teachers
Stage 3

Through an examination of the life of Governor Macquarie, students learn about what life was like for different groups of people in the colonial period.

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum History K-10

HT3-1 describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia

HT3-2 describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time

HT3-5 applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication 

The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony; for example, explorers, farmers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, humanitarians, religious and political leaders, and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. (ACHHK097)

In this unit of work the term ‘Indigenous’ is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • ​use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS099, ACHHS118)

Analysis and use of sources

  • locate information related to inquiry questions in a range of sources (ACHHS102, ACHHS121)
  • compare information from a range of sources (ACHHS103, ACHHS122)

Perspectives and interpretations

  • identify points of view in the past and present (ACHHS104, ACHHS123)


  • identify and pose questions to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS100, ACHHS119)
  • identify and locate a range of relevant sources to support an historical inquiry (ACHHS101, ACHHS120)

Explanation and communication

  • develop texts, particularly narratives and descriptions, which incorporate source materials (ACHHS105, ACHHS124)
  • use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies(ACHHS106, ACHHS125)

Cause and effect: events, decisions or developments in the past that produce later actions results or effects

Significance: the importance of an event, development or individual/group

Learning across the curriculum

  • Literacy
  • Creative and critical thinking
  • Civics and citizenship

What do we know about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past and how do we know?

What were the significant events and who were the significant people that shaped Australian colonies?

Student Activities

Significant people: Governor Macquarie

Use sources from the Library to find out about the supporters and opponents of Governor Macquarie.

Number of set tasks:

This Is Your Life

Write a script for This Is Your Life.

Number of set tasks:

Featured content


Download the transcript

Background notes for teachers

In 2010 The State Library of NSW presented the exhibition The Governor: Lachlan Macquarie, 1810 to 1821 to commemorate the bicentenary of the beginning of Macquarie’s governorship of the colony. The exhibition featured extraordinary original items from the Library’s collection including Macquarie’s journals, maps, watercolours, an authentic portrait of the Governor, his travelling trunk and other personal items. Additional items were loaned by Historic Houses Trust of NSW and the Powerhouse Museum. The exhibition looked at exploration and expansion in the colony during the Macquarie era, which included a series of landmark tours by Macquarie and the establishment of many new settlements, including Liverpool and Port Macquarie.