Ballad of Lachlan Macquarie

July 19, 2020

US-based singer-songwriter David Rovics wrote this song on hearing of the arrest of long-time human rights activist Stephen Langford, who was charged with defacing the Governor Lachlan Macquarie statue in Sydney's Hyde Park.

Langford's “crime” was to paste (with craft glue) a sheet of paper, quoting Macquarie's own words, on the monument: “All Aborigines from Sydney onwards are to be made prisoners of war, and if they resist they are to be shot and their bodies to be hung from trees in the most conspicuous places near where they fall so as to strike fear into the hearts of surviving natives.”


Ballad of Lachlan Macquarie
By David Rovics

Lachlan Macquarie was a Scotsman who
Signed up to serve the British crown
He traveled round the world to America
Not long after that he headed down
To his post in New South Wales to be the governor
To expand colonial rule
Half of Sydney was named after him
Everybody learns his name in school

Just don't put Macquarie's words beneath his statue
If you do, his defenders might arrest you

Lachlan Macquarie was a governor
Who opened schools and hospitals
His aim was to civilize a nation
In the interests of himself and capital
He was a raging alcoholic and a bad businessman
But you could say he did his best
To broaden the global dominion of
A project they call the Christian west


Lachlan Macquarie stole children from
Their parents, and never gave them back
And when Gundagarra and Dharrawal people resisted
He ordered his soldiers to attack
He said make the Aborigines your prisoners
Shoot them and hang them from the trees
So as to strike fear in the surviving Natives
In order to bring them to their knees

Repeat first verse

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.