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Henry Ross

Henry Ross

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Captain Henry Ross was a Canadian gold miner at Ballarat, Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and was known on the goldfields as the 'bridegroom' of the miners flag, the Southern Cross, the Eureka Flag
Eureka Flag
The Eureka Flag is a design; a dark blue field with a central white symmetric cross consisting five eight-pointed stars, representing the Crux constellation....

. Henry Ross was born in Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Upper Canada
Upper Canada
The Province of Upper Canada was a political division in British Canada established in 1791 by the British Empire to govern the central third of the lands in British North America and to accommodate Loyalist refugees from the United States of America after the American Revolution...

, and probably arrived at Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 on the Magnolia, in November 1852, along with Charles Doudiet
Charles Doudiet
Charles Alphonse Doudiet was a Canadian artist and digger present at the Eureka Stockade, Ballarat, Australia, in 1854. His sketchbook, discovered by his descendants in 1996, has provided contemporary images of events connected to the Eureka Stockade, that were important for the authentication of...

 and three other Canadians.

There is no evidence of who exactly designed the Eureka Flag, but it was Ross who took the design to three women - Anastasia Withers, Anne Duke and Anastasia Hayes - to ask them to sew it and have it ready in time for the meeting taking place at Bakery Hill at 2.00pm on Wednesday the 29 November 1854.

At Bakery Hill on 30 November 1854 Captain Ross unfurled the Southern Cross and led the march from Bakery Hill to Eureka Stockade
Eureka Stockade
The Eureka Rebellion of 1854 was an organised rebellion by gold miners which occurred at Eureka Lead in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. The Battle of Eureka Stockade was fought on 3 December 1854 and named for the stockade structure erected by miners during the conflict...

, behind him followed about 1,000 diggers, some armed with rifles, many only armed with picks and shovels. Captain Ross was given the command of a division of miners by a meeting of the 7 captains of the rebellion who met at Eureka that afternoon to organise the defence of Eureka.

Later that afternoon Captain Ross raised the flag on the temporary flagpole that had been erected at Bakery Hill. Sword in hand, his division gathered at the foot of the flagstaff, the sun going down behind them. Peter Lalor
Peter Lalor
Peter Fintan Lalor was an activist turned politician who rose to fame for his leading role in the Eureka Rebellion, an event controversially identified with the "birth of democracy" in Australia.- Early life and migration to Australia :...

jumped onto a stump and asked those around him to take an oath to the Southern Cross. He pointed his right hand towards the Southern Cross and delivered the diggers oath.
"We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties"


The miners shouted 'Amen' and then marched back to the Eureka Stockade and hoisted the Southern Cross on a makeshift flagpole at the centre of their camp.

When the first shots rang out at daybreak on Sunday the 3 December 1854, Captain Henry Ross took up his position at the foot of the flagpole. He was mortally wounded during the early phase of the battle and lay dying at the foot of the Southern Cross when trooper King scaled the flagpole and tore the flag down. By some accounts Ross was shot 10 or 15 minutes after he surrendered. Fellow Canadian (Charles) Alphonse Doudiet, who painted earlier Eureka events, recorded that he was among those who carried the Stockade leader to the nearby Star Hotel, and remained with him until he died "in great pain" at 2 am on 5 December 1854. Duncan Clark, from the same regiment as Ross, had been out scouting and returned in time to assist his leader to the hotel.

Some 260 mourners followed the funeral procession of Ross to the Ballarat Cemetery. He was eulogised as one of the best loved men of those who fell. The young Canadian digger, Henry Ross, was buried at the bottom of a mass grave at the Old Ballarat cemetery, while his beloved Southern Cross is displayed for all to see at the Ballarat Art Gallery that stands on the site of the soldiers encampment.