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1803 Pattern British Infantry Officer's sword and scabbard of New South Wales Colonial Governor Lachlan Macquarie

Object type

Object number

1803 Pattern British Infantry Officer's sword that has a deeply curved unfullered single-edged blade. The blade is etched along half its length with designs including a crown that surmounts the Prince of Wales plumes and motto, and crossed pikes with halberd, all interspersed with floral motifs. The flat back of the blade is marked 'J J Runkel, Solingin'. The hand grip is of wood covered in fishskin bound with wire, and it is capped by a lion's head pommel. It is guarded by a squarish gilded brass half basket hilt, composed of a cross guard linked to the pommel by a knuckle bow and two curved bars. The number of Macquarie's regiment '73' is engraved in a disk on the knuckle bow, and the bars of the hilt frame a large thistle in relief, a symbol that was popular with Scottish highland regiments. The blade has been damaged or repaired about 75mm from the tip. The sword has a curved black leather sword scabbard with three gilded brass mounts, including a locket or throat with a frog button, a middle band mount with a carrying ring about a third of the way down the scabbard, and a relatively long chape.

Collection name
Alexander Ferguson collection

Collection statement of significance
The Alexander Ferguson Collection consists of a 1803 Pattern British Infantry Officer's sword and scabbard, a dirk, scabbard, by-knife and fork and a black leather scabbard belonging to and used by Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. The regimental sword was purchased by Macquarie after serving in North America, India and Egypt, before his appointment to the colony of New South Wales. It reflects his Scottish heritage with a decorative thistle relief. The number of his new regiment, the 73rd, is engraved on the main knuckle-bow. Dirks were worn by senior officers of Scottish regiments as clan insignia.

Lachlan Macquarie is a key figure in the development of the colony of New South Wales. He was chose to replace Governor William Bligh and began his term on 1st January 1810. Over the next decade he transformed the colony's infrastructure, economy and prospects. His determination to rehabilitate the social status of 'reformed' convicts won him powerful enemies in the colony and in Britain, and in 1822 he sailed for London to defend himself against his critics. Fearing that his achievements would be eclipsed by the 'false, vindictive and malicious' report of the Bigge Commission, Macquarie battled to salvage his reputation. He died in London on 1 July 1824, two months after a grueling journey from Scotland to secure his pension

John Justus Runkel, Sword Cutler and Merchant

Place made
Solingen, Urban district, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
The blade was made in Germany and imported to England were the sword was completed by Runkel

Place assembled
Holborn, London, England

Date made
1807 - 1808

Major-General Lachlan Macquarie
Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821

Associated organisation
British Army
Macquarie was serving in the British Army during his appointment as Governor of New South Wales

Sir George Ferguson
Ferguson acquired the sword and scabbard at auction in London in 1917

Place used
Sydney Cove, Sydney Harbour, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
The site of the first colony of New South Wales

Associated place
Macquarie was a Scotsman

Associated place
Macquarie was commanding the 73rd Regiment (Scottish) of the British Army during his appointment as Governor of New South Wales

Period of use
1810 - 1821
Lieutenant-Colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821

Steel, Leather, Gilded brass

Length: 860mm
Width: 392mm
Height: 80mm

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