Ross Island, the erstwhile capital of
Port Blair during the British regime, is a
tiny island standing as guard to Port Blair Harbour. The island presently
houses the ruins of old buildings like Ballroom, Chief Commissioner's
House, Govt. House, Church, Cemetery, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming
Pool and Troop Barracks, all in dilapidated condition, reminiscent of the
old British regime.
Under The Colonial Rule
Ever since Dr. James Pattison Walker arrived in Port Blair aboard the East India Company's steam frigate 'Semiramis' on 10th March 1858, this island remained under British occupation till 1942. From 1942 to 1945, the island was under the occupation of Japanese. However, the British reoccupied the island in 1945 and later abandoned it.
During British occupation, this island was the seat of power of the Britishers. It was developed into self-equipped town ship with all facilities required for a civilized colony. Dr. Walker, Chairman of the Andaman Committee, established the infamous and the dreaded penal settlement with 200 convicts. The Britishers persuaded the aborigines to come and live in some huts at Ross Island and even established an Andaman home for them in 1863. Later on the services of these Andamanese were used to catch the escaping convicts from Ross Island.
The island with historical background and preservable ruins is spread along an area of 0.6-sq-kms. With the ruins and also with the historical background, the island has gained a lot of popularity among the tourists. Navy has also established a museum on the island known as ''Smritika'' depicting the history of the island
Ross Island is open for the tourists to visit during daytime except Wednesday. Boat services are available from the Phoenix Bay Jetty at 8.30 am, 10.30 am, and 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm. It's a 10 minutes boat journey from the Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair to reach the islands.