When at PAC Ron entered the special essay competitions, which required research and presentation of an argument, the essential training for a historian. He took ancient and modern history in his last year at school, and at university completed an honours degree in history. His thesis subject related to South Australia's Aboriginal people, an interest carried over from one of those school essay competitions.
Headmaster Bean commissioned him to write a history of the school. A History of Prince Alfred College, published in 1984, shed new light on the origins of the school, the role of the headmasters, and the school's development. The book won the State Government prize for non-fiction at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1986.
Ron has been made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to education and the study of history. He believes fiercely in the discipline and relevance of historical study, above all because it tells us what it is like to be human.