Sir Francis Ronalds and his Family

Ernest Albert Ronalds

Ronalds family reunion at Wandella (Christmas 1947). Ernest and Pamela are on the far right.

Growing up in Victoria, Alfred Ronalds' grandson Ernest (1871-1955) and his brother Oscar travelled to the newly-discovered Kalgoorlie gold mines in Western Australia in the 1890s Depression, where Ernest found work hauling supplies.

In 1909 he established a farm called "Wandella" at Mountain View in Gippsland, Victoria, and before long he was "known throughout the State" for his cattle skills. He was the first in the district to supersede hand milking with machines. He was able to steadily expand his property holdings and give each of his five children their own farm.

Ernest was an "esteemed" leader in the local community. He delivered "outstanding public service" as a councillor of Buln Buln shire for 28 years, being chosen as president for four terms. He helped open up the district by attracting funds to build access roads for the new farms as well as the Strzelecki Railway on which he served as trustee and chairman. His wife Pamela Louisa née Drew (1875-1965) had the honour of cutting the ribbon when the farms were connected to the electricity grid in 1938. Ernie also contributed to the local school committee for two decades, was a justice of the peace, president of the Poowong East Young Farmers' Club; and a director of the Korumburra Co-operative Butter Factory whose produce was exported to Britain. Colleagues recorded that he brought to these time-consuming activities a "quiet reserved nature", "honesty of purpose", "high commercial ethics", "sound judgement" and "tact".


Further Information

Recollections of "Wandella" in the 1920s (1992) - written by Ernest and Pamela's son A F Ronalds

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