'Macquarie' short-listed for National Biography Award
1 JANUARY 2003
A book by a CSU lecturer and former lecturer about NSW colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie has been short-listed for the 2011 National Biography Award.
A book by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) lecturer and former lecturer about NSW colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie has been short-listed for the 2011 National Biography Award.
Co-authors Mr Harry Dillon, a journalism lecturer at the CSU School of Communication and Creative Industries in Bathurst, and Mr Peter Butler, a former lecturer at the School, learned last week that their book, Macquarie: From Colony to Country, had been chosen as one of six finalists from 58 entries for the award.
“We are both surprised and delighted that our book has received this distinction,” Mr Dillon said.
“The National Biography Award has a very distinguished panel of judges, and the standard of entries is very high this year. We really didn’t think we would be in such good company.”
Macquarie: From Colony to Country, a popular history biography, tells the story of the fifth NSW colonial governor. It goes beyond the standard 'Father of Australia' profiles that might arise in the bicentennial year of the start of Lachlan Macquarie’s 12-year administration (1810-1821), and emphasises the immense difficulties Macquarie faced in a troubled community that was in transition from being an outdoor jail to a colony of free settlement.
Mr Dillon says the conventional story of Macquarie does not really convey the full extent of Macquarie’s achievement in very difficult circumstances, and the real story is actually more dramatic and compelling.
“It is well known that Macquarie extended settlement of the colony after the 1808 rebellion, sorted out Sydney's roads and built new turnpikes, established a string of new townships, created Sydney's first substantial public buildings, and was benevolent towards all classes, especially convicts and ex-convicts. But it is less understood that he also encountered great problems with the indifferent and parsimonious Colonial Office in London, and locally with 'exclusive' settlers and officials who opposed his policies, especially his generosity and clemency towards the downtrodden.
“The inclusion of our book on the 2011 National Biography Award short-list helps to promote awareness of Governor Macquarie's story, which should be known to every Australian.
“And regardless of the outcome of the award winner announcement, we take special pride and delight that the award ceremony will be held in the Macquarie Wing of the State Library of NSW in Macquarie Street, Sydney. We think Lachlan Macquarie would be proud and delighted too,” Mr Dillon said.
The 2011 National Biography Award will be announced 11am-12.30pm on Monday 16 May 2011 at the State Library, Sydney, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.