Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Albert Francis Ronalds

Albert Francis Ronalds (1958)

Commemorative plaque at the Dandenong gas control station

Albert (1913-1999) inherited his father Ernest's technical skills and extended the engineering tradition of his forebears Sir Francis Ronalds, Hugh Ronalds, Dr Edmund Ronalds and Alfred Ronalds. As a civil engineer Albert was responsible for landmark infrastructure in Australia's development. Prior to World War II, he was employed in designing and building the Yarrawonga Weir on the River Murray and the Lauriston Reservoir in central Victoria.

In 1950 he joined the new Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, serving as Chief Civil Designing Engineer for the dams, tunnels, penstocks and power houses of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

He was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works in 1955. There he oversaw the completion of the Upper Yarra Reservoir and published a master plan to meet the water requirements of the rapidly growing city to the new millennium, which included building the Thomson Dam.

At the beginning of the utilisation of natural gas in Australia, he became chairman of the new Victorian Pipelines Commission, which constructed high-pressure transmission pipelines for the recently-discovered gas fields in Bass Strait. His final role was at the Railway Construction Board, where his responsibilities included planning for the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop and the Eastern Railway.

Albert had keen interest in his extended family. He researched and published the first biography of Alfred, the founder of the Ronalds family in Australia, and also a complete directory of Alfred's descendants to 1966.


Further Information

Albert's marriage to Elizabeth (Betty) Joan Stride (1942)

Betty's brother Douglas William Stride's entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Some of Albert's publications and reports:

Master of Civil Engineering thesis (1940)

Harnessing Australia's Greatest River: the Work of the River Murray Commission (1946)

Future Water Supply of the Melbourne Metropolitan Area (1962)

The Ronalds Family of Australia (1985)

Recollections of "Wandella" in the 1920s (1992)

Further reports held at the State Library of Victoria