RM Williams, one of the quintessential Australian brands of leather goods and clothing.
The history behind this famous brand:
“Reginald Murray Williams was born in 1908 on a farm in mid-north South Australia.
Since the age of 16, RM worked through more careers than there are stitches on his brand-name boots. He was a camel boy, drover, well digger, boot maker, miner, businessman, historian, author and leatherworker, just to name a few.
He was born seven years after Federation to the optimism of the words of Australia’s first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton; For the first time in history we have a continent for a nation and a nation for a continent” and he lived to see the eyes of the world focused on Australia for the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
RM first went bush in his teens lime burning and building in stone in Victoria and on the Western Australian goldfields. In the late 1920’s, he signed on as a camel boy with the missionary explorer William Wade in his treks across Australia’s central western deserts.
He learned valuable bush lore and survival skills from the aboriginal peoples of the area, and honed his stock handling and bushcraft skills from the stockmen of the desert fringe cattle stations.
By 1932, the onset of the Great Depression found RM camped out in the Gammon Ranges of South Australia with his young family but his luck changed when he met Dollar Mick.
A self-taught genius in leatherworking, Dollar Mick passed on his skills to the 24 year old RM who made and sold his first pair of riding boots for 20 shillings to a man from Hilltaba Station whose name he couldn’t remember.
Having worked on some of the great pastoral runs of the interior, no one knew better than RM what men who were born in the saddle wanted when it came to footwear. Other landmarks of RM’s life include founding the Australian Roughriders Association, and helping to form the Equestrian Federation of Australia in 1951 and the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach in 1988. He was also editor of Hoofs and Horns magazine in the early 1950’s.
In 1985, RM was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for services to the outback community. In 1992, he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to business and community, and in 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal.
Reginald Murray Williams passed away on 4th November 2003 aged 95.”
The R.M.Williams Company was founded and established in 1932 by Australian legend, Reginald Murray RM Williams AO, CMG.
How the company started:
“In the early 1930’s, RM met a thin, wiry and colorful character by the name of Dollar Mick. RM was camped out in South Australia’s Gammon Ranges where he was barely making a living for his young family, sinking wells and doing odd jobs on surrounding stations. His fortunes turned when Dollar Mick arrived at his campsite, driving a dilapidated buggy drawn by two mules.
There was an age gap of almost 30 years between the two men but they built up an incredible rapport. Over the following months, Michael George Smith (Dollar Mick) passed on his vast knowledge of leather work and craft to RM, teaching him the secrets of bush saddlery and stockmen’s accessories, still prized today.
After much trial and error under the watchful eye of Dollar Mick, RM fashioned his first pair of boots which he sold to a man from Hiltaba Station.
RM later said that this defining experience with Dollar Mick marked the true beginning of his life’s work.
With boots sales to this first unknown buyer and cattle king, Sir Sidney Kidman, RM set up the beginnings of his first factory in an iron woolshed behind his father’s house at 5 Percy St, Prospect.
With no capital and little help, he built up a team of dedicated craftsmen and took out advertisements in the rural press that asked customers for cash with their orders, his mail order boot service and an iconic Australian company were born.
Over the following decades, RM developed his business, diversifying into bush saddlery and equipment and the company’s trademark moleskins, jeans and bush shirts.
Today, R.M.Williams exports to 15 countries, has more than 50 retail stores in Australia and two international stores in London and New York. In addition, R.M.Williams is available at more than 900 stockists around the globe and has retail space in numerous Myer department stores across Australia.”
A true staple that almost everyone has is an RM Williams belt.
How to wear RM Williams? Try these outfits!