Roy Everard Ross was born in July 1899 in Mansfield, Victoria and died in Melbourne in November 1970. Mr Ross was the sixth of eight children – Ada, James, Alfred, Olive, Sylvia, Roy, Fred and Hazel – all born to Hugh and Bessie Ross at the family property Brooklyn in Mansfield Victoria. He trained as a land surveyor and engineer and went on to become a very successful local government engineer, property owner, businessman and investor. He served as a Captain in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in New Guinea following World War One.
In 1959, Mr Ross founded Bayview Quarries and became Chairman of Directors. After its takeover by Boral Ltd. in 1968, he formed Hillview Quarries Pty. Ltd. to operate an existing quarry at Dromana. Hillview Quarries continues to be owned and operated by the Trust and generates income for distribution by the Trust as charitable grants.
Mr Ross was a keen bushman, had an extensive knowledge of native plants and trees, and made a study of the habits of birds and their calls.
A History of the Trust
The R E Ross Trust was established in Victoria in 1970 by the will of Roy Ross. The will provides for five Trustees to manage the assets of the Trust and to distribute the Trust’s income.
When it came to making grants, the first Trustees decided to concentrate the Trust’s activities in three fields and to “give priority to particular projects rather than merely making donations to established agencies and institutions”. The three fields were: “Social welfare, with particular regard to assistance to the disadvantaged in breaking the circles in which they are caught and which result in poverty…”; “Nature conservation, with particular regard to the purchase of land for the protection and preservation of flora and fauna”; and “Education of foreign students, with particular regard to students from Melanesia.”
Over the years the Trust has continued a policy of combining smaller grants for many organisations with larger grants, often multi-year and in partnership with other donors, for a smaller number of particular projects. In the area of social welfare, the focus has always been on those who are most disadvantaged.
Since its establishment, the Trust has made many grants for the purchase of land and the support of other conservation projects throughout Victoria. The crowning achievement of the Trust in 2002 was to enable Trust for Nature to purchase Ned’s Corner Station in Northwest Victoria. Believed to be the largest Victorian property in private ownership and comprising 25,000 hectares including 14 kilometres of Murray River frontage, the purchase is of immense significance to conservation in Victoria. Since this time, other significant grants have been made in this impact area. For more information on these grants refer to the Preservation of Flora and Fauna impact area.
In the area of Education of foreign students, the Trustees undertook research before making their first grant in 1973, in partnership with a number of others, to Monash University. The R E Ross Trust Fellowship Program, previously known as the Trade Education Project, provided for specialised, short-term enhancement of trade skills and instruction techniques of adults from small South Pacific Island countries. In latter years the focus turned to the education and training of medical practitioners in the pacific islands. Due to the tightening of Australian law and regulations for foreign medical practitioners to practice in Australia, the program was revised to support the travel of Australian medical practitioners to the Pacific Islands to carry out the training in country. For the most recent information about the education of foreign students, refer to the Programs section.