It’s starting to get a little cooler in Queensland – not that we ever experience proper cold winters living anywhere along the east coast – and that means just one thing for me…………….boots! I can pull my R.M.Williams brown leather, elastic-sided, riding boots out from the back of the wardrobe and for the few short weeks of “winter” can enjoy wearing them.
R.M.Williams – “The Man” – was born Reginald Murray Williams in 1908. He died only a few years ago in 2003 at the age of 95. The archetypal Australian bushman with big, gnarly hands and a rolling gait, he started out life in the South Australian bush, the son of a horse breaker and trainer and became a camel driver, boot maker, saddler, bushman’s outfitter, grazier and all round horseman in his time.
R.M. was one of the founders of the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame at Longreach and rode in many of their fundraising endurance rides well into his 70’s. He built the stone cottage at the entrance to the Hall of Fame with his own hands. He was also instrumental in setting up the Bicentennial National Trail.
Although one of my enduring heroes, I never got to meet R.M face-to-face but did have the honour of chatting to him on the phone one time. Apart from owning a pair of his boots, I have a treasured signed copy of his autobiography, “Beneath Whose Hand”.
He founded the R.M.Williams company in 1932 (it is still Australian owned) on the principles of quality, authenticity and durability. On that basis, my boots – handmade from one piece of leather – should outlive me.