Fred Ross

Fred was born in Adelaide in 1949; he graduated from Adelaide University with an Arts degree majoring in English Literature and Politics. After completing a Teaching Diploma he spent 15 years teaching Maths and English at High Schools in South Australia and Victoria.

Fred had an interest in timber from an early age when he would spend his school holidays at Murray Bridge helping his grandfather who was a builder of wooden boats.  In 1985 this interest was rekindled with a move to Victoria (with partner and artist Vida Pearson) where he was more easily able to source some of Australia’s rare timbers from small saw millers around the country and used these to create beautiful pieces of hand crafted furniture. The lure of timber and what can be done with it gave him the confidence to leave the security of teaching and embark on a career as a professional designer/furniture maker.

The bulk of his work comes from private commissions – clients who require a “special” piece or for unusual spaces that require creative design. Utilitarian pieces are also made but always from interesting timber and often with subtle inlay work. His much admired silky smooth finishes have become a bit of a trade mark as the furniture is very tactile and begs to be stroked.

His preferred timbers are Australian Red Cedar (Toona australis/ciliata) which is quite rare, Blackwood, Jarrah, a host of minor species and for decoration and contrast, Huon Pine. Finishes are to the client’s requirements – French polish, wax etc. He also carves and does inlay work. Occasionally, Vida and Fred will do a joint project where Fred will make the piece and Vida will hand paint the decoration.

His work can be viewed in MacArthur Gallery in Ballarat or at his studio in the  Haddon/Smythesdale area or online at