Ronald Joseph (Ron) Wild was born deaf in Balmain, Sydney in 1934. He was educated at St Gabriel’s School for Deaf Boys in Castle Hill NSW from 1939 to 1952.
After leaving school, Ron became a display artist for Mark Foy’s department store in Sydney. Later he specialised in creating murals, many with religious themes. He became skilled at painting murals which depicted stories or gave background to a story.
He painted many other special commissions for a variety of organisations including the Phillip Street Theatre, the Manly Loft Theatre, St Gabriel’s school concerts, and, of course, the NSW Theatre of the Deaf. One of his biggest commissions was to paint a 60-foot long mural on the façade of the Art Gallery of NSW for a special ‘Captain Cook Dinner’ in 1969. He also made a series of cartoons over about 20 years for St Kevin’s Catholic Church (Dee Why)’s Weekly Bulletin.
Some of his paintings portrayed the Deaf Community, including a series showing the places where the NSW Deaf Community has traditionally met. The first painting shows deaf people huddled under a lamp-post to sign together and the final painting in the series shows the Deaf Society’s premises in Macquarie Street, Parramatta (a painting of the Deaf Society's current Phillip Street premises by Ali Faqirzada completes Ron Wild’s series). These paintings are now shown in the hallway of the Deaf Society offices.
As a devoted member of the Catholic Deaf Community, Ron painted a mural of Jesus healing a deaf man from which the Ephpheta Centre logo evolved. A certificate of honour was presented to the family of Ron Wild by the Catholic Deaf Trust in December 2009 to acknowledge his love, friendship, and many contributions to the Catholic Deaf Community.
Ron died in 2008 at the age of 74. An exceptionally gifted artist, his works still decorate walls in offices and buildings around Sydney.
Information from Ron Wild’s nephew
‘Manly Daily’ of 24 December 2008
NSW Deaf Herald Summer 2010
Catholic Deaf Trust Certificate of Honour to Wild family December 2009