Monday, 7 June 2010
Looking at Light (5) - Vivid - Macquarie Arch
Governor Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth were two of Australia’s most influential and visionary leaders, building vast public works including schools, roads, bridges, hospitals and orchestrating the colonisation of land across the country.
In 1816 Governor Macquarie commissioned Australia’s first lighthouse at South Head to guide the ships to his fledgling colony and the emerging trading town of Sydney. The strange blue plastic lighthouses scattered around commemorate this fact.
The arch symbolises perhaps the greatest of Macquarie’s achievements in visioning the future of Australia, representing Macquarie’s road over the Blue Mountains.
In a terrain that remains often inhospitable even today, Macquarie charged his engineer William Cox, with a team of convicts, to build a road in an unknown territory. They achieved this remarkable feat, of over 100 miles, in just six months and won their freedom under his emancipation program.
The road opened up the agricultural plains to Bathurst whereby settlement and trade developed for the colony. The development of towns and interior exploration were a hallmark of Macquarie’s vision.
Macquarie saw the road as one of his most important projects to improve the viability of Australia to develop commerce, trade and civilisation.
The multiple conduits in the Downer Macquarie Arch reference the major road projects Macquarie commissioned to link Sydney to the new settlements he developed in his blueprint for “improving a new country”.