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William Ross (1827–1900)

We regret to record the death by a shooting accident of Mr. William Ross, of The Gums, Penshurst, Victoria, one of the best known and most public-spirited pastoralists in the Western District of Victoria, and a man greatly respected and beloved. For many years he was the representative of the Western Province in the Legislative Council of Victoria, besides having been a councillor and president of the Mt. Rouse Shire Council in his district, and there was no matter of public importance in which he did not take an interest. This very issue contains some remarks he sent us before his death about the recent bush fires, and we record with gratitude and pride the interest he took in supporting this Review as the intercolonial pastoral organ, and the advantage we derived from suggestions he was good enough to make from time to time for its improvement. More particularly we may mention that it was at his instance that we have enlarged the type in which the bulk of The Review is printed and changed the paper to the white colour on which it is printed for the first time this month.

We learn from the Hamilton Spectator: "Mr. Ross was born in the Madras Presidency in the year 1827, and was, therefore, seventy-three years of age at the time of his decease. His parents came from Inverness, Scotland. About the year 1843 he landed in New South Wales, and after engaging in pastoral business there, in the Murray district, he removed to the Western District of Victoria, having purchased the station now known as The Gums from the executors of the late Mr. Moffatt. At that time the homestead was represented by a set of buildings constructed in accordance with the fashion of the early days, but Mr. Ross, imbued as he was with the spirit of progress, determined on erecting a structure on a par with the 'stately homes of England.' This he did, and The Gums to-day is a monument of his ambition. The building itself is spacious, lofty, and admirably arranged, but the chief charm is found in the surroundings, which so far as possible have been worked out on the lines of an English park or an English squire's domain. From the neatly trimmed hedge of the garden to the stately avenues of trees, planted by the deceased, many of which were ruined by the recent fire, there is evidence of the controlling hand of the landscape painter."

Mr. Ross entered the Mt. Rouse Shire Council in 1866, becoming president in 1870, and leaving the council in 1873, returning for a short time in 1877, and again from 1878 to 1881. In 1878 he was elected to the Legislative Council in succession to the late Mr. Robert Simson, and remained in the Council the full term of ten years, being succeeded in 1888 by Mr. S. Winter Cooke.

Mr. Ross' death is very widely and deeply regretted in Western Victoria. He was one of the typical "squires" of whom the district is proud, and leaves a record of the highest private honour and public spirit.

Original publication

Citation details

'Ross, William (1827–1900)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


27 May, 1827
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India


22 February, 1900 (aged 72)
Penshurst, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

shooting 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.

Stately Homes