Ronaldson & Tippett Equipment Story


| December/January 1995



David Ronaldson

David Ronaldson

Ballarat Engine and Machinery Preservation Society Sent to us by Greg McNiece MC Box 7, Eastern Mail Centre Victoria, Australia 3110

Ballarat Engine and Machinery Preservation Society member Neil Wright has been an avid collector and historian of Ronaldson Bros, and Tippett equipment and memorabilia for many years. The following writings compiled by Neil give a brief history of the development of their machines and equipment. Neil is indebted to the following sources of information used in these writings: The late E.J. Tippett, Peter Ronaldson, Hugh Sloane, Graeme R. Quick, Peter Willcock, Jim Morgan, Shulz Bros., Jim Smith and Bob Wright. This article is reprinted with permission from the RonaTip Rally, organized and promoted by the Ballarat Engine & Machinery Preservation Society Inc., in whose souvenir programme it originally appeared in 1994. Mr. Wright is working on a book about Ronaldson and Tippett.

The Early Years, 1903 - 1928

Undoubtedly, Ballarat's heavy industrial base owes its foundation to the post gold rush mining boom. The era of deep lead and quartz mining saw great demand for pumps, engines and specialized machinery and with this numerous foundries emerged to meet this need. Many were destined to rise and fall with the mining boom. The Victoria, Phoenix, Union and Soho were foundries destined to be long remembered as the pioneers of the developing heavy engineering sector. With time comes change and another chapter was about to unfold. The waning fortunes of the mining days were giving way to the increasing prosperity and subsequent expansion of the district's agricultural and pastoral development.

When the last remaining mines closed down in the early years of the 20th century, the incessant hammering of the quartz stampers had been replaced with a new sound, the exhaust pipe 'bark' of the internal combustion engine. Oil engines were fast coming into popularity with the man-on-the-land as were motor cars infringing on the realm of horses.

It was around this time1903 to be precise when a sequence of events would culminate in the establishment of what would become one of Ballarat's premier manufacturing industries that of the Austral works of David and Adam Ronaldson, shortly later to become RONALDSON BROS. & TIPPETT LIMITED.