I had the honour of attending the handover of the ashes of the unjustly executed, Footscray resident, Colin Campbell Ross by the State Deputy Premier and Attorney General, Rob Hulls to the family at Old Melbourne Gaol yesterday.
Former Collins Street Baptist Minister and Director of Urban Seed, Rev. Tim Costello introduced the ceremony. The Gun Alley murder took place in 1921 off Little Collins Street not far from where Urban Seed work currently takes place. Tim had in recent years been involved in the launch of the book about the case through which the researchers had recovered hair sample evidence that, with the benefit of modern forensics, had proven that Colin Campbell Ross was falsely trialled. Through the book he had become aware of the involvement of JH Goble, the then Baptist Pastor of Footscray, who had supported Colin and the Ross family and proclaimed his innocence throughout. Tim Costello told those gathered that he considered JH Goble to be the greatest Baptist Pastor in Australia’s history and that when he heard of his involvement something stirred deep within him and he knew he had to know more about this story. He concluded with the quote from Martin Luther King (perhaps the worlds greatest Baptist minister)
The moral arc of the universe may be long but it bends toward justice.
The door of Colin’s cell (number 10) was open and inside was his bible with passages about justice underlined in pencil which were read out as part of the ceremony.
After 90 years it was a powerful place to be for someone currently playing a pastoral role at the Baptist Church in Footscray. The Urban Seed connection is also very important as the Everett family of the current Urban Seed chair, Bruce Everett are direct descendants of Colin Campbell Ross. Current Urban Seed Executive team member, Rev. Brent Lyons Lee was involved in the committal of Colin’s ashes to rest next to the remains of his mother at a family ceremony held in Bendigo later in the day.
Colin Campbell Ross Wikipedia.
Article by John Silvester in The Age