Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Alexander Ronalds

Ronalds Vine Hotel in Ballarat. From the New Tourists' Guide and Victorian View Album, 1888-9

Alfred Ronalds' youngest son Alexander (1850-1938) was a true goldfields pioneer: he arrived in Ballarat at the age of two when the first blocks in the township were being offered for sale, and was buried there 86 years later.

He was ten years of age when Alfred died, and began his career in his brothers' employment - first with Maria's husband Robert Shanklin and then with Nathaniel at his nursery in Melbourne. He told the story that he once swum across the Yarra when the river was in flood, holding flowers above his head to deliver an order on time.

Gradually working his way up the ladder of success, he became a partner in a firm of tailors where he covered wide areas of western Victoria as travelling salesman and stimulated substantial growth of the company. In 1887 he began running the Ronalds Vine Hotel in Ballarat and offered "splendid accommodation for Travellers and Families". The hotel remains, as does nearby Ronald Road which was named after him.

Like Alfred, Alexander prided himself in his high-quality horses and field dogs, and also his garden produce, and won prizes for all in agricultural and horticultural shows. He frequently promoted the achievements of his father as well as his uncle Sir Francis in the Victorian press.

Further Information

Alfred Ronalds: Angler, Artisan and Australian Pioneer (2022) - published by Medlar Press

Mary Ann Ronalds: Goldfields Pioneer (Jul 2021) - published by the Ballarat Historical Society, Lamplight, Vol. 11, No. 4

The Ronalds Family of Australia (1985) by A F Ronalds