Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


RM - a living national treasure
The epitome of Australia's image of its pioneering self

Story: John Dunn
Photos: David Seeto

ImageDark clouds are gathering on the Darling Downs and to those who live on the plains that roll and rise above Toowoomba, the prospect of rain is always welcome.

So, too, are the visitors to the modest, white weatherboard farmhouse that sits on a Hodgson Vale Hilltop well hidden by a small forest of eucalypts just off the Warwick Road.

But callers must be precise and come to the point with some speed, because this is the home of R.M. Williams, a man who measures his minutes, a man who has done so much in his 90 years, but has so much more to do.

He is instantly recognisable. The photograph that so many Australians know so well immediately comes to life - brown, broad-brimmed, distinctively-shaped Akubra, steady, searching stare, weather-beaten face relieved by a trim, white moustache, powerful, folded arms as large as legs of lamb and the almost always favored pale blue shirt and off-white moleskins.

This is Reginald Murray Williams, known universally as "RM", a long-time legend of the great Outback, the "epitome of Australia's image of its pioneering self" as The Australian newspaper once described him, and famous for bushmen's gear - boots and belts and ships and whatever else is needed to outfit the man on the land.

ImageFamous, too, for the fine range of contributions he has made to the millions of miles that extend out the back of the country's coast and to the people who live and work there.

There is his inspirational founding work for the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach and his influential participation in the Bicentennial Cattle Drive, the Ernabella Medical Mission for Aborigines, the National Horse Trail which runs from the tip of Cape York to deep into southern Victoria., the Rough Riders' Association, the development of a string of cattle stations and a swag of literary works from poetry collections to Hoofs and Horns magazine.

Full story: Issue 1, October-November 1998

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R.M. Williams Summer 2004/5 Catalogue

Visit rmwilliams.com.au for R.M.Willams history, news and the on-line product catalogue