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Emily Ross (1832–1871)

from Sydney Morning Herald

About 6 o'clock on Saturday evening last, the 28th October, an accident occurred near the junction of the New South Head Road and the Bellevue Road. Mrs Emily Ross, Mrs. Charles Fairfax, and Mr. John Fairfax were returning home in a close carriage. The coachman let the reins slip, and fell from the box. Mr. Fairfax opened the door of the carriage, and jumped out to stop the horses, but he unfortunately fell and was much bruised. Mrs Ross, being concerned rather for the safety of her father than alarmed at her own position, shortly afterwards leaped from the carriage, but her dress caught in the splash-step; she fell heavily to the ground, and her head struck upon a piece of road metal. Mrs. Charles Fairfax was much shaken and bruised, but escaped without serious injury. Mr. Long, who was passing at the time, kindly lent his carriage, and Mrs. Grafton Ross was conveyed at once to the residence of Mr. J. R. Fairfax, where shortly afterwards she died. Mr. John Fairfax, although of course much shaken, has not, his medical advisers believe, contracted any serious injury from the fall. His hand is severely cut, and he has a wound on his forehead, but there is reason to hope that he will soon recover. At the time of the accident, Mr. Ross was absent. A telegram was at once sent to the Clarence, where he was staying, to break to him the painful news, and he arrived in Sydney on Tuesday night. An inquest had been held on Monday morning, at the residence of Mr. J. R. Fairfax, upon the body of Emily (Mrs. J. Grafton) Ross, then and there lying dead. James Reading Fairfax, residing at Upper Bellevue Road, and one of the proprietors of the Sydney Morning Herald, said: Deceased was my sister, aged 39 years, a native of Leamington, Warwickshire, England. She has been married sixteen years, and has left three children, About 5 o'clock last Saturday afternoon, on my driving up to the corner of New South Head Road and Bellevue Road I saw deceased supported by some lady friends. I found she was insensible. I assisted to convey her to my residence. Dr. Nott saw her at the scene of the occurrence. She died at a quarter to 11 o'clock the same night. Michael Cleary, coachman, in the employ of Mr. John Fairfax, said: I was driving his carriage and two horses on Saturday last, from Paddington, home. There were in the carriage Mrs. Ross, Mrs. Charles Fairfax, and Mr. John Fairfax. I was the only person on the box. They are a steady pair of horses. I have frequently driven them. I have been driving one about six or seven years, and the other about three months. He is a very quiet steady horse. I have been in Mr. Fairfax's employ, as coachman, about eight years. As I was driving along the New South Head Road home on Saturday afternoon last, at 5 o'clock, and when I arrived between Mr. Gordon's and Mr. Brewster's, the reins dropped out of my hand, and fell on to the splinter-bar. I then stooped forward to pick them up. The horses were going on steadily at the time. Nothing occurred to frighten them. On leaning forward to got hold of the reins I missed them and fell forward on to the splinter-bar, and then on to the ground. I did not witness any of the subsequent occurrences. When the reins fell out of my hands I did not inform the occupants of the carriage of it. Thomas Nixon, a dealer, residing at Piper-street, Woollahra, said: On Saturday afternoon, about half-past 4 o'clock, while standing by my cart at Mr. Brewster's gate, on the New South Head Road, my attention was attracted by hearing screams, apparently coming from the direction of Sydney; I looked round, and saw a carriage and two horses coming, as if from Sydney. No person was on the box. The horses appeared to be in a good smart gallop. I saw an elderly gentleman standing on the step of the carriage, on the near side, one arm in the carriage, the hand of the other outside waving; one leg and foot was inside the carriage; he made a spring, and something appeared to catch him; he was twisted, and fell to the ground with his head close to the hind wheel of the carriage; the horses increased their speed; I ran towards them with a view of stopping them if possible, but finding I could not do so, I stopped and looked after the carriage; there were two ladies in the carriage, and each went to a door which they opened; when the carriage had gone about one hundred yards, after the gentleman jumped out, I saw a lady jump from the carriage on the offside; her dress caught in the splash step of the carriage, and she fell heavily to the ground on her left side; I ran to her and found Mr. Brewster's gardener endeavouring to raise her; I then looked after the carriage and saw the other lady jump out of the carriage when it had gone about fifty yards farther on; I went down to the second lady, but she got up without assistance and returned; I went back to the first lady; she was insensible, and bleeding from the head. George Graham, gardener to Mr. Brewster, said he was standing at the gate, and was about ten yards behind the carriage when Mrs. Ross fell out; she appeared to fall on the left side of her head. Thomas Nott, M.D., said: On Saturday last he was called to see deceased; Dr. Nathan afterwards arrived; she remained unconscious till she died; the cause of death was compression of the brain from rupture of some blood-vessel, causing gradual extravasation of blood. Verdict, "Death from injuries accidentally received." The funeral took place yesterday (2nd November). Shortly after 2 o'clock there met in the Congregational Church, Pitt-street, several hundred friends of the bereaved family, who have received much sympathy from all classes of the community. Mr. John Fairfax, although recovering from the injuries he received at the time of the accident which proved fatal to his daughter, was unable to attend the funeral. A short service of reading and prayer was conducted by the Rev. J. Graham, the Rev. J. G. Frazer, M.A., and the Rev. S. C. Kent. The coffin, which was strewn with beautiful flowers, was then borne from before the pulpit to the hearse. There was a long procession of carriages from the church to the mortuary chapel at the railway terminus, and about two hundred gentlemen went by the funeral train to Haslem Creek. There the remains of Mrs. Ross, whose fate so many deplore, and whose virtues so many admire, were buried in the Congregational ground. The service by the grave side was conducted by the Rev. John Graham and the Rev. S. C. Kent.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Emily Ross

Citation details

'Ross, Emily (1832–1871)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Emily Ross, n.d.

Emily Ross, n.d.

National Portrait Gallery, 2002.82

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Fairfax, Emily

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England


28 October, 1871 (aged ~ 39)
Bellevue Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

horse-drawn vehicle accident

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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