Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Arts and Crafts

Alfred's medal struck in 1850 to commemorate the new Colony of Victoria. Noble Numismatics

The first Ballarat hospital, which Alfred helped to build in 1856. State Library of Victoria

Alfred Ronalds worked as an artisan for many years and generated a substantial and diverse body of work of high quality. He made the illustrations for his book The Fly-fisher's Entomology, engraving the 20 plates, printing them and supervising their hand painting. They depicted the flies favoured by trout and were so precise that the insects could be readily recognised in the field. Aided by his daughter Maria, he also designed and made fishing tackle, some of which continued to be sold for over a century.

Migrating to Australia offered the opportunity to pursue many interesting new projects, and he was a noteworthy pioneer in supporting the establishment of two important Victorian cities. He engraved the corporation seal for Geelong when it was proclaimed as a municipality and made the first medal struck in Australia. At the start of the gold rush, he produced a booklet on gold exploration and recovery and he later helped to bring lithography to the important new mining industry. With his engineering skills he supplied water for the fledgling community of Ballarat and assisted in building the hospital and surveying the streets.


Further Information

First edition of The Fly-Fisher's Entomology (1836)

Sir Francis Ronalds: Father of the Electric Telegraph (2016)
- published by Imperial College Press