Dollypot, Greenhide and Spindrift:

a journal of bush history

Vol 4 No. 3

Charles Garrett and Hesperian Press.

The underpinning of Hesperian Press as a solid publisher derives almost entirely from the faith that Charles Garrett had in myself. His strong practical Christian moral and financial support for myself as a young scientist with extensive knowledge of the goldfields and a strong belief of the immense nugget potential, created in the 1970s, an Australian gold rush second only to that of the 1850s and 1890s.

The government ignores the fact that the gold rush took off in 1977-78, long before ‘capital’ claimed the honour as its own.Taking his business principles as a template for my own, I sought out the best of those who had similar interests. David and Elaine Cooper in Brisbane, Tony Mills in New South Wales, Don and Felice Cooper in South Australia, John Stephens in Tasmania. These and several others who later unfortunately became liabilities were the core of Garrett in Australia. I operated Treasureland Australia and Hesperian Detectors. While today the wealth of nuggets on and just below the surface is self-evident, it was not always so, and many were the detractors whose voluble opinions were just that. Together we encouraged and taught thousands of potential prospectors and treasure hunters. Garrett metal detectors changed the lives of more Australians for the better than any political promises of our government. They took almost penniless people into a position of financial independence. It gave most a vision of the freedom of the bush we had not seen since the 1930s. It saved the lives of many failing bush towns. To many the bush had been the space between bush pubs. Now it has become a protective refuge for those that do not fit well with the cannibalistic ‘capitalism’ that has enveloped our lives. Many Australian Garrett customers are now ‘millionaires’, one a near ‘billionaire’. For many others the self-sustaining prospecting gave them both practical and spiritual sustenance. This sort of introspection is not often discussed in our modern society and is not easy to write about without the fleas biting. Following the principles of Charles and Eleanor, many who were unable to afford a detector were given or loaned detectors to get them on their feet. Conversely, the cheese brought out the rats, of which there was a multitude. Most of these latter followed those who live by the sword…

It was Charles’ advice on making available extensive literature on the goldfields which was the real start of Hesperian Press. As the years went on and the battles with the depredations of Canberra and the usual local and interstate parasites took its burn out toll, I retreated into my books and concentrated on what has become one of the most important cultural structures in Australia today. My older customers are well aware of this relationship but the iteration here will enlighten many others.

This year I had caught up with many of my projects and was turning to my history of detectors in Australasia. My files are immense but my strength is waning. I started writing of the dragons that had been vanquished and offering my thanks to Charles Garrett, but it is a job of several years. So the news today of the death of Charles Garrett was a sad event. I am also sorry that my wife and children never had the chance to meet him or to experience the camaraderie of the goldfields as I did.

As my understanding of international manipulations and of the coup that took place in the United States has grown, to the point of absolute disgust, it is the knowledge borne of personal experience of men of the calibre of Charles Garrett that gives me the belief that America, on the verge of destruction by the insane termites that have brought it to its knees, will rise again. Tempered by this catharsis, buoyed by the principles of its Constitution and the steel of its people, together with the knowledge that the greatest will fall when eaten out from within, the memory of men like Charles Garrett is an essential to guide future action.

Resurgam Charles Garrett.                            Peter J. Bridge OAM

Charles Garrett Obituary link