History

When William Wallace was a Unionist

James Russell Thompson was a successful businessman from Airdrie in Scotland. He arrived in the Victorian gold-mining town of Ballarat in 1853, having previously struck gold on the Ovens goldfields. Deafness caused by his earlier career in mining prevented Thompson from becoming involved in public life in Ballarat but, dying a wealthy man in May 1886, he was able to leave significant bequests to relatives and requested that his remaining estate be put towards the purchase of statues for Ballarat’s sprawling botanic gardens. A fellow Scot, Thomas Stoddart, was executor of Thompson’s estate, and was able to procure for the…

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