Ron Edwards began his life long association with publishing in 1950 with a short run of books featuring linocuts which was printed on a screw press. He had recently graduated from Swinburn Institute of Technology with a Diploma in Art, and was working as a teacher in the printing department at the college.
Ron had an interest in collecting folk music and Australian folklore from an early age, and began printing short runs of books on both subjects. The early interest continued for the whole of his life and today his books have become an important historical collection preserving Australia’s cultural heritage. The Australian National Library houses the collection. His collection of yarns - a colloquial term for the Aussie habit of 'stretching the truth' when telling a story - was made into a Television feature in the 1980s.
Ron’s interest in the preservation of Traditional Australian Bushcrafts led to the series of 10 very well known books titled ‘Bushcrafts 1-10’. These are extremely popular with people across the globe with many purchasing the full series. Many books were written to instruct people in the art of leather work, whip making, saddlery and knotting and these small books continue to be sought after by people worldwide. The Australiasian Post used to run a series featuring many of the bushcrafts that are contained in the books.
As well as collecting, recording and collating all of this information, Ron excelled as a superb artist, and it is his incredibly detailed illustrations that make his books so easy to read and understand. His skill as a water-colourist and acrylic/oil painter has never been acknowledged to the degree it deserved as the artist himself did not pursue notoriety as a professional artist perhaps because he was too busy writing books! He was however extremely skilled and diverse artistically. If one was to count the many,many illustrations that fill his books they would number in the hundreds of thousands. When he found time to do his beautiful watercolours and massive oils is hard imagine!
Until some time in the 90’s, the books were generally printed on an offset press by Ron at his home in Kuranda, Queensland. They were printed and bound by hand – sometimes the whole family got involved at such occasions as a Christmas gathering, which provided a captive free workforce!! The move was eventually made to digital printing, but the books were (and still are) put together manually.
Altogether, over 350 books have been published by the Rams Skull Press, of which about 160 titles are still in print today.
Ron was the founder of the Australian Plaiters and Whipmakers Association Inc. and held the office of President until his death in 2008. The Association now has almost 300 members worldwide and the Rams Skull Press continues to print their journals on a quarterly basis.
After Ron’s death his wife Anne continued to operate the publishing business until she also passed away in October 2010. In July 2011 the business was moved from its long time residence in Kuranda to the Brisbane Valley in South East Queensland, where it continues to be managed by their son David and daughter-in-law Deb who have picked up the reins to ensure the books remain available.
The books are printed on a digital press and remain completely created in-house by David and Deb who edit, print and bind them. They are sold online from this website, to people worldwide and we continue to supply select retail booksellers within Australia. Our product is wholly Australian in content and manufacture. We wear our 'Australian Made and Owned' label with pride!
Ron Edwards was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1992 for his work with the Rams Skull Press in preserving Australia’s heritage. He received an Advance Australia award in 1995 for recognition of achievement in Literature / Bushcraft. We carry on his legacy with pride.