Dr Edwards’ first degree was in ecological science (Monash). He worked in national parks and Crown land administration before managing Melbourne's metropolitan parks system and then the parks and sports grounds of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. In the 1980s he was also a local government Councillor (six years) and Shire President in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria. From 1991-2006 he served in Queensland's Department of Lands/Natural Resources as Manager, Land and Regional Planning, responsible for policy on issues such as planning for the leasehold estate, property rights and SEQ’s regional open space system.
He retired from the Queensland public service in 2011. In June 2013 he was elected President of the Royal Society of Queensland.