Charles Ross

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Thonen and Ross from The Revolt at Eureka’ by R. Wenban. Schools Publishing House, 1959.
J. B. Henderson, 'Eureka Stockade Riot, Ballarat, 1854'. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales (SSV2B/Ball/7)
Memorial to those who died as a result of the Eureka Stockade located in the Eureka Memorial Park Association. Photography: Clare Gervasoni 2013.


Charles Ross (or Henry Charles Ross)[1] was born c1827 in Canada. His mother was Elizabeth Wells Ross. [2] He arrived in Australia c1853.[3]

Ross died on December 1854, aged 27.[4]

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

Ross was a participant in the Eureka battle. He seconded Mr Murnane’s motion at the Ballarat Reform League Bakery Hill meeting of 29 November 1854. Ross was said to have asked two digger’s wives to make the Southern Cross flag, the flag of the diggers. Raffaello Carboni called him the standard bearer. After the Bakery Hill meeting he hoisted down the Southern Cross and headed the march to the Eureka Stockade carrying the flag.[5]

Ross was shot around ten minutes after he was arrested. [6]

Flying the Eureka Flag from the Guardian Eureka Centenary Issue, University of Ballarat Historical Collection
...Another discharge of musketry was sharply kept on by the red-coats (some 300 strong) advancing on the gully west of the Stockade, for a couple of minutes. The shots whizzed by my tent ... Ross and his division northward and Thonen and his division southward, and both in front of the gully, under cover of the slabs, answered with such a smart fire. [7]

Ross was shot in the groin during the battle, but escaped and was in hiding until found and carried to the Star Hotel on a stretcher on 03 December 1854. [8]He died there later that day, as a result of gunshot wounds. He was buried at the Ballaarat Old Cemetery in the diggers’ enclosure. The informant for his death certificate was Dr Albert Sickler. [9]

The Eureka Stockade Anniversary
The following letter signed James Oddie appeared in Wednesday's Ballarat Star " in reference to the fight at the Eureka Stockade: — Sir, — This is the 48th anniversary of the massacre of the innocent diggers within and without the [Eureka Stockade]. My store was in proximity — so near that the first volley woke me up, when speedily I passed out to the front with my wife, and then saw how matters stood. The mounted police held a position at the south-west corner, and were in considerable numbers. The light was not sufficient to enable us to see the work going on inside. Meantime a crowd of people from their tents gathered on the apex of of Stockyard Hill to learn what was going on, when two of the mounted police were detached, and galloped a couple of hundred yards into their midst, and we could see their sabres glistening in the sun when taking their overhead strokes, cutting the people down. How many perished I cannot tell, but there must have been a considerable number. The whole work was soon over, aud between 5 and 6 o'clock I went over to the stockade and counted 22 dead bodies. Many of them were roasted like pigs at the Chinese Camp. In the attack the tents had been fired, and the poor fellows had, when wounded, fled there for shelter and so ended their fate. I saw the body of the German ginger beer man covered with bayonet wounds, and a person who counted them said they numbered 17. The sight was sickening, and I did not remain long. Meantime the attacking party departed taking with them their dead and 60 prisoners, as reported afterwards. The number reported killed in Withers' History is from 30 to 40, but many were mutilated in addition, and occasionally one may be seen now without an arm, a fine, tall respectable fellow, having weathered the battle of life minus his arm. Of Captain Ross it is said — and I have upon absolute authority— that when the attacking force entered the stockade he threw up his arms in token of surrender, when a rifle was raised and a bullet put through his chest and I saw him carried past my store on improvised stretcher to the Star Hotel, Main road, where he died next day. Captain Wise was wounded, and died two days after ; while another officer was wounded and three soldiers met their deaths. Although the writer was not mixed up in any way with the aggressive party, I came in for a share of risks, and from both sides. On the evening of Saturday, at 10-30, I was in the act of retiring for the night, when the sound of horses' feet was heard pas sing in the direction of the stable, and moving to a door leading from the store into it, I found two mounted men and horses filling the en trance opening. The men instantly demanded horse feed for the Commissary Department. Demanding an order from Mr Lalor, I was instantly covered by a brace of revolvers. Still declining, an outburst of curses followed, which were exhausted now and again and quickly renewed at a short interval. The refusal was reiterated, and this was kept up for 40 minutes the faces of the patriots giving evidence of strong internal emotions, now contracting and then relaxing. The strain was tremendous, and the eye of the writer was steadily fixed on the objectives, and was not sorry to see the horses backed out of the opening, and no more heard the visitors. At the inception of the interview my wife took up her stand at my side, tried to speak, but failed to articulate a word, and so to the end. After the burning of Bentley's hotel and the arrest of three of the participators in this work, the authorities be came very pronounced in their administration of the law, and in this came a small share to my lot. On a clear sunny day in November, being behind the store counter, a small man walked in and asked for a nobbler of brandy, and on my re plying in the negative, " Don't sell brandy, " he reiterated his application, holding between his thumb and first finger a shilling, and saying, "It is all right." Still refused, the third request was made and refused, when Mr George Lilley, auctioneer, Humffray street, broke in and said, "You are come to the wrong place this time," and simultaneously a mounted trooper in uniform rode his horse into the opening of the store to see his friend drinking his brandy. Thus it came about that the writer was privileged by having been offered money by the police to violate the law. Volumes could be written of facts and incidents of every day occurrence, novel and unique, which in years to come might be of value to the historian, but enough. The next anniversary will be a suitable time to pre pare for the jubilee a " Guild of Eureka Stockade Massacre," with a permanent committee and officers.[10]

Post 1854 Experiences

THE EUREKA VICTIMS – On Thursday morning, about 7 o’clock, the bodies of Captain Ross, James Brown, Thonen, the lemonade seller, and Tom the blacksmith, who fell at the Eureka Stockade, and had been buried apart from the others, were removed fro the grave from the others, were removed from the grave and placed in they containing the bodies of the others who lost their lives on the memorable 3rd of December. The removal took place in the presence of Mr Superintendent Foster, Mr Salmon, trustees of the cemetery, and Mr Lessman. The coffins were in excellent preservation. We understand that no procession will take place on Thursday next, the anniversary of the Eureka affair, but the grave of the fallen will be decorated with chaplets and flowers.[11]


See also

Independent Californian Rangers Revolver Brigade

Star Hotel

James Oddie

Edward Thonen

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.

Townsend, Helen, Above the Starry Frame, Macmillan, Sydney, 2007.


  1., accessed 05 May 2014.
  2. Notes, Lucille Andel, 2016
  3. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  4. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  5. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  6., accessed 05 May 2014.
  7. Carboni, Raffaello, The Eureka Stockade. (identified by Jack Harvey in The Site of the Eureka Stockade: Summary Notes, 1993.
  8. Townsend, Helen, Above the Starry Frame, Macmillan, Sydney, 2007.
  9. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  10. Mount Alexander Mail, 05 December 1902.
  11. 02 December 1857.

External links

Photo of Charles Ross at, accessed 05 May 2014.