In 1932, Reginald Murray (R.M) Williams made and sold his first pair of riding boots to an unknown rider, and now, 78 years later, the iconic Australian bush clothing brand continues, offering the same level of quality and workmanship in a much broader product range.
After going 'bush' in his teens, learning bushcraft skills from the stockmen of the desert fringe cattle stations, RM Williams found himself camped out in the Gammon Ranges of South Australia with his family, barely making a living digging wells. It was during this time of the Great Depression that he met an itinerant saddler named Dollar Mick, who passed on his self-taught leatherworking skills to RM Williams.
RM Williams knew very well what men who were born in the saddle wanted when it came to footwear, selling his first pair of riding boots for 20 shillings to an unknown buyer, followed by a pair to cattle king, Sir Sidney Kidman.
Following these sales, RM Williams set up the beginnings of his first factory in 1932 in an iron woodshed behind his father's house at 5 Percy Street, Prospect. With no capital and very little help, he built up a team of craftsmen and advertised in the rural press asking customers for cash with their orders.
Over the following decades, RM Willimas developed his buisness, expanding into bush saddlery, equipment, and the company's now trademark moleskins, jeans, and bush shirts.
In 1972, 5 Percy Street became too small for RM Williams to continue his now hugely successful business and a new boot making factory was opened in Salisbury. In 1986 and 1990 the clothing, leathercraft and administration left the Percy Street address to join the manufacturing facility in Salisbury.
Today there are many RM Williams bush clothing stores nationwide, and in 2000 the company opened its Outback Heritage Museum on the site of the company's original factory at 5 Percy Street, Prospect, South Australia. Covering 300 square meters, the museum has the feel of a well-cared for homestead and was opened to coincide with Reginald Murray's 93rd birthday year. Customers can browse through and purchase from the RM Williams showroom at the Percy Street location all year round.
RM Williams once said 'a man doesn't work any worse for looking a whole lot better', and as a result bushmen, stockmen, farmers and riders Australia-wide now look good in the RM Williams range of bush clothing.
The RM Williams bush clothing range includes:
- safety boots
- work shirts
- oilskin jackets
- dryskin jackets
- and more.