Publication Details

Michael Organ, Secret Service: Governor Macquarie’s Aboriginal War of 1816, Proceedings of the National Conference of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Mittagong, 25-26 October 2014.


Detailed analysis of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s punitive actions against the Aboriginal population of New South Wales in 1816 reveals the extent of war engaged in by local military forces and the colonial authorities, along with a corresponding cover-up of those activities and outcomes to both the local community and authorities in England. This analysis has implications for our present day reading of Australian history and the ongoing debate over recognition of the so-called Forgotten War (Australian Aboriginal War), especially in light of the ANZAC and World War I centennial commemorations of 2015-18. The use of unpublished archival resources is highlighted in revealing a detailed and localised picture of events in New South Wales during 1816. The rediscovery and reinterpretation of the facts behind this historic episode reveals the ever-evolving history of Australia and the moving stories which are an important part of that history.

1816.pptx (5487 kB)