Family remember doting dad Cliff Royle

Victorian print innovator Cliff Royle, founder of Shannon Books, RoyleBind and Purple Press, passed away suddenly last week and has been remembered by his family as a doting father, gifted storyteller, keen guitarist and a man who loved life.

Royle turned 60 in September but his foray into print began in his teens when he bought a press and set to work in the garage of the family home in Shannon Street at Box Hill, giving rise to the name of his first company.

Royle was interested in ideas and trying out new ways to do things and in 2012 he broke new ground with a digital innovation that enabled photo books to be printed on the front and back and inside covers and protected it with a triple patent.

"It is the only different process in existence. I have spent five years of my life developing this," Royle told ProPrint in 2012, describing the secret manufacturing method as simpler, quicker and less space-intensive than traditional methods.

His innovations won him international and national acclaim, including most recently the $10,000 Konica Minolta National Specialised Print Award in 2017 for his Photo Book Panorama.

His sisters Cathie Smith and Ally Wilkinson have remembered their brother as a creative and intelligent man who always spoke with pride about his teenage daughter, with whom he would often play guitar and sing.

“He was so proud of her and they used to play music together and sing,” Smith tells ProPrint.

She says they would often go camping as a family together and Royle would regularly play his guitar and sing, often at an adventurous location of his choosing. He was also highly social and “mixed with people of all walks of life.”

Smith also remembers his early days starting out in the garage at home following in his father’s footsteps, who was also a printer.

Smith says, “He started his first business in the garage of our home on Shannon Street (at Box Hill) and that’s where the name Shannon Books originated.

“He took a lot of initiative in his businesses. He was a really interesting, intelligent and creative guy who really loved life.”

Royle founded Shannon Books and RoyleBind before launching personalised promotional products business Purple Press, which went into liquidation in September 2018.

His funeral will be held in Melbourne on Tuesday, November 20 at Tobin Brothers Ringwood.

PIAA chairman Walter Kuhn has expressed his sympathy to Royle’s family.

Kuhn says, “The Board of PIAA were particularly saddened by the news of Cliff Royle’s passing. We send condolences to his family.

“Mental wellness is too often unspoken about at any workplace. But it is particularly not spoken about in a manufacturing workplace. This statement unfortunately rings true for the visual communications industry.”

Readers can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.

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