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Alexander Ross (1834–1905)

There passed away at 8.30 p.m. on Friday, in the person of Mr. Alexander Ross, J.P., of Palmer's Island, one of the noblest and most highly esteemed residents of this district. His birthplace was near Dingwall, Scotland, but he came to Australia when about 18 years of age, and for some time managed a flour mill for the late John Berry, of Shoalhaven River. Here he married, in 1860, a daughter of the late Rev. John Hill Garven, and shortly after settled at Palmer's Island, which at that time was dense scrub. Here, in common with other early settlers, he had to work hard and put up with untold hardships, but from time to time, as opportunity arose, he exerted his influence and reduced those inconveniences by keeping a Post Office, getting Palmer's Island made a place of call for steamers. Later on he kept a store, built a saw-mill, and later still a sugar mill. This last was worked regularly until the failure of the cane crops a few years ago, and as the dairying and fishing industries then began to assume large proportions, the old mill was converted into an ice and butter factory, which has been working ever since. Mr. Ross was also, by his own hard work and influence the principal means of placing the present Palmer's Island Dairy Company on a sound footing, and the factory, which he planned himself, in working order. Some 12 months ago he caught a cold, and this being neglected brought on bronchitis, which in its turn proved so severe as to cause weakness of the heart. After some months of suffering he took a trip to Sydney with his daughter, where they were met by his wife and late son Alexander. Both the father and son being in delicate health, a few weeks on the mountains was resolved upon, but this change proved ineffectual, as the son developed pleurisy, and was ordered back to Sydney, and the father, feeling no better, was advised to try Bathurst. After a few weeks there, however, he came back to Sydney, and returned to Palmer's Island unimproved in health. His son Alexander returned a week later free of pleurisy, but in a rather advanced stage of Bright's Disease, which ended fatally a month or so later. This, no doubt, caused Mr. Ross, senr., a shock, but he kept fairly well up till about a fortnight ago. He was not a man that would worry over misfortunes, but the fire of last week must also have had a bad effect upon his heart, since which he has more or less gradually failed up till Saturday night, when he passed away, quite peacefully resigned, at the ripe age of 70½ years. The news cast quite a gloom over the place, and few will ever be held in such high esteem of any community as this large hearted forgiving friend, of the people of Palmer's Island. Although always having led such an active life, all throughout his long illness he has never complained, and bore his trial, very often in extreme pain and distress, with a grand Christian patience, continually thoughtful for the comfort of those about him.

Our Maclean correspondent writes: When the news of the death of Mr. Alexander Ross reached Maclean on Saturday morning, it was received with sincere expressions of regret on all sides. Mr. Ross has resided on the Island for about 15 years, and his happy and cheerful disposition made him the friend of a very large section of the people. Mr. Ross had done a great deal to help his fellow man, of which the general public know little, because he had closely followed the Scriptural injunction and refused to allow the left hand to know what the right hand was doing. As might well be imagined, this benevolence greatly detracted from Mr. Ross' successes in life. He leaves a widow, one son and one daughter, and for these sympathy is expressed on all sides.

Original publication

Citation details

'Ross, Alexander (1834–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Dingwall, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland


26 May, 1905 (aged ~ 71)
Palmer's Island, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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