Judith Drake Brockman


Judith was one of our favourite authors, her book being Wongi Wongi which we published in 2001. This is an important personal memoir that used her own life and background as well as access to then ‘secret’ files to counteract insidious and poisonous anti-white-Australian propaganda that was highly promoted and inflicted upon a generation or so of schoolchildren, through the efforts of communists in a State and Federal government funded publisher and by ‘profits are everything’ corporations.

While her book was vilified by the usual suspects it was reviewed in several sensible journals and used by critical thinkers to awaken the public as to their deception.

Unfortunately codswallop and just plain lies have become the standard of much of the captive media and maggot ridden organisations of all stripes.

Born in 1920, Judith was a record breaking swimmer competing nationally and internationally. But her life story is well told in Wongi Wongi.

For some years Judith had been living in Paddington, Sydney and with her daughter Ashley. She died in late August 2019, so at the age of 99.

Hal Colebatch


Hal was an old friend. We first met in the mid-1950s at the Saturday meetings of the WA Naturalists Club held in the basement of the old Perth Museum. We were both ‘loners’ and the calls we followed were not those that most others heard.

In the early 1960s he came caving with WASG at Augusta and never lost his fascination with the exploration of those unknown underground places.

He asked me to be his scrutineer when he stood for Parliament. A hard night’s work.

In 1996 we published his biography of Claude De Bernales, The Magnificent Miner. It is still in print.

A slightly ‘amusing’ story attached to this was the result of arranging by telephone with the personnel of the eponymously named Hannan Street bar for a book launch. Well, we arrived per the Prospector, took a room at a local motel and fronted up to the bar. No one knew anything. It was a disaster. I think we got an interview with a local radio station and maybe with the Kalgoorlie Miner. I never did find out who had set us up, or why. But Hal got a good look around the dilapidated focus of old De Bernales’ fortunes.

I think Hal got badly burnt in a publishing venture set up by a local thieving bullsh artist, who also stripped me, and many others, of hard won funds. In fighting the oleaginous left sometimes it is those in your own ranks who are most likely to do a Brutus. Whether the blow is from left or right the result is the same.

I think this is where our different views were based. Hal appeared to be thinking above the strife of the mundus muckus whereas I had to fight in that dirt. Consequently my views are rather more non-PC.

In later years we lost contact but I did get a call from him only a month ago.

I hope that a complete bibliography of his large and varied literary output will be compiled and published.


Leo Laden



The passing of Dr Robert David Leopold Kosak Laden, universally known as Leo, on 19 January 2019 was a changing of the zodiac.

There have been few like him and in our degenerate age, with its soul crushing political correctness, aka Leninist claptrap (appropriate for one who died of raging syphilis), most do not want to raise their heads above the parapet.

Leo was the public pox doctor in Perth, and he endured the presence of such illuminating degenerates as the one who had a light bulb lodged in his rectum. His antagonism towards psychopathic sexual perverts is detailed in his bestselling book. 

This led to his early retirement at 54. And for that, all who remember him are thankful.

So when Leo came to me in 1995 with his manuscript of Dicks and Dickheads I have known, there was an instant rapport of like individual minds against the hive.

His public lectures on the subject allowed all those questions which previously many were too embarrassed to ask. The result was almost revolutionary.

The book raised instant antagonism from the ‘Health’ Department as he flatly contradicted the mass propaganda about those poor inoffensive people with AIDS. There were apparently threats of legal action from the government and if it had been anybody but Leo the scum of our bureaucracies might have shut us down.

He empathized with the main MASH characters in their contempt for the irrelevancies of officialdom designed for lesser minds.

Leo was born in London on 18 December 1937 to Georg and Leah Kosak, of Russian and German stock. He grew up in London and was evacuated to Wales during the blitz. His father died just after the war and his mother remarried to a Dr Laden. He never wanted to be a doctor but perhaps this pleased his mother.

He met Daphne at University College whilst performing on stage in a hospital review. Apparently neither the girlfriend nor the acting was supported by his Jewish mother. Lovely Daf remained his best friend who accompanied him everywhere until she passed away in 2017.

He joined the RAF and served as a Flight Lieutenant in Aden but the troubles there and the birth of Guy (1963) and Helen (1965) resulted in returning to Cornwall. A rainstorm in London and shelter in WA House led to his signing up as a doctor in outback Leonora. He built a house at Sorrento. Steven (1968) and Jon arrived (1972). He worked at Heathcote and Graylands as a staff psychiatrist and a Quarantine Officer at Fremantle and the airport.

Tennis clubs, P & C, wide travelling and sporting interests were all played well.

Later their haven at Nowergup with Leo’s arms collection became a place of pilgrimage for all arms collectors.

Leo was a passionate collector since a teenager and his wheeling and dealing in all things military led to his Antique Arms and Armour business and to his Perth Muzzle Loading Club championships and international competitions. His involvement with the SSAA(WA) and his outspokenness regarding licensing matters with the government and police flummoxed them and was a great support for rational licensing.

The Sherlock Holmes Society and re-creations of historical events with the Perth Volunteer Rifles were important catalysts for all in appreciating the historical wealth of the nation.

His interest in things that went bang, like gumnut bombs and cannon, was  appreciated as the editor was also an early disciple of the Big Bang club.

A special edition of the Perth Muzzle Loading Club Inc newsletter, The Black Powder Report, February 2019 is dedicated to Leo.

Unfortunately I could not go to his funeral but Sanghee, Calliope and Celene of Hesperian were there to wave goodbye.

I am indebted to Leo’s children for sending me their funeral orations which gave much detail on this extraordinary chap and old friend.

Peter J Bridge, OAM


Norm Manners


The author of Bullwinkel, one of our most popular books.

As is not unusual with many good books, the major publishers based in the multicult hellholes of Melbourne and Sydney, knocked it back. We were happy to publish, both for a hardworking author and an illustrious Australian.

Norm and his good mate, detective Max Baker, had many meetings with us going through the text. The book was launched by the Governor to some acclamation which was only marred by the publication in the local rag of a vicious review organised by their embedded trotskyite termite.

Unfortunately for us Westralians, we have to put up with many of that ilk in our mess media. But what goes round…

Len Hill

The passing of Len Hill at Charters Towers on 3 December 2019, was one of those changes marking the irrevocable end of an era. The best of Australia is in its past and the bush life of Len is one that will be a yardstick of the lives of those that straddled the transition between the millenia old droving traditions and the mechanized agribusiness of now. I am proud to have known him. A handmade stockwhip from Len is in easy reach as I write this. He will not need it as he rounds up those scattered celestial stragglers to the strains of Ghostriders.    

Len Hill was born at Mount Barker, Western Australia, on 27 June 1926 and grew up on a farm in the Cranbrook district. The family moved to Perth in 1937 and Len attended Kent Street Central High school. At 16 he became a jackeroo on Tootra Station and later on Carnegie Station in the far north east. As a nineteen year old he was offered the opportunity to be part of a team under boss drover Ben Taylor, to take stock up and then down the Canning Stock Route.

After several years as a stockman, Len moved to the Kimberley, broke horses at Flora Downs Station, and became head stockman. In 1958 he married Robin Richardson and went to manage Nicholson Station near Halls Creek. For most of his twenty five year management stint he was also group manager for four additional stations. With the sale of all the Vestey's Australian Investment Agency Pty, Len then became the manager of Go Go Station for the Emmanuel Brothers for another seven years before retiring to Charters Towers in Queensland in 1989.

During that time, he held numerous civic positions: a Halls Creek Shire Councillor for 15 years including 6 years as Vice President; a member of the Kimberley Zone Development Committee, WA for 8 years: member of the Agricultural Protection Board, Halls Creek for 3 years; president of the East Kimberley Negri Race Club for 6 years; Justice of the Peace, Halls Creek for 6 years.

In 1991 Len was inaugurated into the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach, Queensland.

His book, Droving with Ben Taylor: Up and down the Canning Stock Route in 1946, (Hesperian Press, 2009.) has become a latter day bush classic. Unfortunately his record of his Kimberley pastoral experiences could not be completed.

Peter J. Bridge.

The funeral eulogy will be published as a HP booklet.

William John Peasley (Bill)

1927 – 2020


William John Peasley was born in the central west of NSW and spent his boyhood on his father’s farm. He left school at the age of fourteen to work on the family farm as a shearer and drovers’ assistant. He enlisted in the 2nd AIF and was a member of the British Occupation Forces in Japan.

In 1950 Bill Peasley was married to Anne Catherine Anderson, and the couple had four sons: Mark, Lloyd, Mitchell and Scott. Anne died in March 2012.

When he left the army in his mid-twenties, Bill decided to study medicine. He was advised that he would have to matriculate first and he was expected to complete five years of high school study in one year. It was a struggle, but Bill matriculated  and commenced studying medicine at the University of Sydney.

In 1955 Bill graduated and the following year, moved to WA, crossing the Nullarbor in a 1946 Mark 4 Jaguar. He spent twelve years working with the State’s North West Medical Service and was stationed at various towns throughout the Pilbara and Kimberley. Via the RFDS he visited and provided medical services to many outback stations. It was in the north-west that he was able to pursue his interest in Aboriginal culture and was privileged to witness secret and sacred rites.

In 1968, Bill and his family travelled to Italy and lived in Rome for three and a half years while he worked for the Australian Migration Office in Rome. He travelled throughout Italy, as well as travelling to Spain in the course of his duties.

After returning to Perth, Bill worked for the Community Health Service, as well as relieving doctors in the north-west. During this time he studied anthropology and continued to follow his interest in Australian history, particularly exploration history.

From the 1970s onwards, Bill Peasley took his recreational interests in the history, geography and the Aboriginal people of outback WA into the field, as well as exploring the archives. His field trips into the remote desert regions of Western Australia included the following:

1974, as medical doctor and participant of the Geraldton Historical Society’s centenary retracing of John Forrest’s 1874 Expedition across central Western Australia.

1975, two journeys on the Commonwealth Railways remote service known as the ‘Tea and Sugar Train’.

1976, member of an expedition to retrace part of the 1896 route taken by David Carnegie. During the expedition the party found Namma and Naomi and their children, Dadina and Boya, who they relocated from the desert to Wiluna.

1977, member of a search expedition to find the nomadic Aboriginals Warri and Yatungka. The couple were found and taken to Wiluna.

1979, researcher and leader of an expedition to retrace Alexander Forrest’s explorations of 1879, from the De Grey River in WA to the Overland Telegraph Line in what is now the  Northern Territory.

1980, with a small party retraced The Calvert Scientific Exploration Expedition’s 1896 route from Geraldton to the Fitzroy River.

1982, completed the retracing of David Carnegie’s 1896 route from Coolgardie to Halls Creek.

1984, travelled with a Pilbara Regiment party of twelve people, from Newman to the Canning Stock Route southwards to Well 18, deviating to the Calvert Range, returning to the CSR to head southwards to Wiluna, then returning to South Hedland via Newman.

1985, with Jim Tough, discovered Charles Stansmore’s grave on the Margaret River in the Kimberley region. (In 1997, Stansmore’s remains and the commemorative plaque were relocated to a site well above the high water level.)

1986, journeyed to Halls Creek and Margaret River to erect a cairn on Charles Stansmore’s Grave.

1996, aged 70, Bill Peasley used camels on a ten week long expedition to retrace Carnegie’s northward  journey of 1896. That year, he also assisted a film crew to complete a documentary on the 1977 rescue of Warri and Yatungka.

1999, followed Carnegie’s 1896 route and confirmed the location of many geographical features.

2000, the Warri and Yatungka retracing expedition, which followed the routes taken in 1977 in search of the two nomads, and during the making of the 1996 documentary.

2001, 2002 and 2006, assisted the Italian botanists Professors Erika and Sandro Pignatti, by leading them through the Great Victoria, Gibson, Great Sandy and Little Sandy Deserts, where they collected over 500 plant specimens.

2004, with a small party, followed the route of the Calvert Expedition with the aim of locating features not found during the 1980 expedition.

2010, an expedition with Mick Hutton and Connie Sue Beadell, travelling from Marble Bar to Halls Creek, much of which was cross-country.

2012, an expedition into the Gibson Desert, and a trip to Patience Well with Martin and Sheree Hayes.


The graves of Warri, Yatungka and Mudjon in the Wiluna cemetery were restored by Bill Peasley, Chris Gilbert and Trevor and Maureen Herbert, in November 2000. The grave surrounds, in the same style as used for Stansmore’s grave, were made by Chris Gilbert and the plaques provided by Peasley.


Bill Peasley’s investigations, explorations and research have resulted in the following achievements:


The publication of six books.

The Last of Nomads, Fremantle Press, 1983. The story of Warri and Yatungka and their relocation from the desert in 1977. Second edition, 2009. Both editions have been reprinted numerous times.

Les derniers nomads d’Australie. French edition of Last of the Nomads, 2001.

In the Hands of Providence. The desert journeys of David Carnegie, St George Books, 1995.

In the Hands of Providence. The desert journeys of David Carnegie, Hesperian Press, 2013. This publication is the original manuscript before it was reduced for the 1995 book.

Through Spinifex and Sand to the Last Desert Family, Hesperian Press, 2013. The story of the finding of Namma and Naomi and their children.

The last Outposts. From Port of Pearls to Desert Sands. A flying doctor in NW Australia, Autobiography, Hesperian Press, 2014.


A documentary in 1996, recording the rescue of Warri and Yatungka.


Numerous reports and manuscripts.


Thirty-three new place names.


The confirmation of the location of several historical sites.


The recording of the names and position of twenty-two Aboriginal sites.


Interviews and oral histories with:

A.G. Herbert, dogger, 1975.

Iris Wade, missionary at Warburton 1930 to 1960s, 1977.

Michael Terry, prospector and explorer, 1980.

Sam Hazlett, prospector and explorer, 1980.

Hugh Barclay, surveyor, 1981.

John Norris, war veteran, 1993.


In 2015 Bill Peasley was made a Member of the Order of Australia ‘For significant service to the community as an inland explorer, historian and author, and as a general practitioner’.

His contribution to Australia’s historical record places him at the forefront of modern day explorers, historians and anthropologists.



Peter Board

Peter Board was a British sailor, born in Devonshire, who joined the Royal Navy at 16 and served on HMS Newcastle and HMS Consort. With his mate Ron Palmer they jumped ship after the Montebello nuclear tests. Peter headed for country WA and after some adventures ended up at Dwellingup. In his book, A Short Walk in Paradise, he describes bush town life and its people and working on the bush railways of the forest area. Eventually the RN found the pair and it was back to swabbing decks. He returned to Australia in 1972 and worked in the Pilbara. Here he took up diving, metal detecting, boating, and expeditions with the WA Museum archaeologists around the islands. He was an agent for my metal detectors in the early 1980s. Retiring from Hamersley Iron in 1987 he married again, after the death of his first wife from cancer and retired to the hills, surrounded by his collections of Nelsonia, (in his Nelson Room), beer mugs and books on a multitude of subjects.

Our condolences to Lou and family.


Bill McGrath.

Another of the old time bookseller-publishers gone.

Old Bill is missed for his cheery and very informative updates on the Pacific.

There were few enough to begin with and we can ill afford the loss of any when they are the embodiment of the living books of Fahrenheit 451.


Where are the replacements? Uncouth, near illiterate, ebay 'dealers' are not booksellers, merely scavengers on the corpse of the Western Canon.

When the greatest stench arises from the destructive faecal expulsion called Amazon, what can one expect from those merely trading on the far edge of civilisation.

Bezos, being a male of indeterminate origin, we could, perhaps, do the world a favour, by excising the morphic equivalent of the Amazon breast. But did the sod breed already?

Much the same sentiments can be expressed towards the central Libraries run by leprotically political creatures whose mental vacuums far exceed their capabilities of curating the books of our culture.

I think I will go and write another book.

Norma Duro. Direct descendant of the first British settler in WA.

Norma DURO (nee Sydney), born Carlisle WA, Nov 1925, died Lindisfarne, Tasmania, July 2020.

Her Mother Elizabeth, was a YOUD from Albany-Collie; Her Father Arthur, was a SYDNEY from Guildford-Swan.

Her Husband, John Duro, was from a Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK family, settled in West Perth.

Norma & John moved to Hobart post WWII and brought up their family of five (Yvonne, Jennifer, Stephen, Susan, Lynne).

Norma's only sibling, elder sister Joyce Bridge (nee Sydney), stayed in Carlisle-Vic Park with a family of four and died Aug 2013.

Norma & Joyce were direct descendants via their Father, of WA Convict George Sidney/Sydney (1866) and NSW-WA convict William Thacker (1824).

Anyone wishing to get in contact, please call Peter Bridge of Hesperian Press, on 9361 8667, or email.


Jean-Paul Turcaud, 

one of our most adventurous prospectors has joined the immortals of the Prospectors Hall of Fame. 

Please click below to read the Obituary written by Peter J. Bridge.


Ted (Edward John) Cockram on 2 January 2021, at 90.

We published Ted's Memoirs in 2018.

Brought up in the tough life of the depression bush he made himself through varied occupations.

These are well described in his book (220 pages). Late in his careers he was instrumental in developing early tourism in the North West.

It is for this that he will be remembered by old hands of the North. While some of the modern hotshots will say how they did it all, Ted was the man who actually did do what he said.

Over the years I enjoyed his reminiscences and I am glad that he finally got his story down.

Vale! Ted.

Rhonda McDonald at 93 on 20 February 2021 at Mt Claremont.

I first met Rhonda and Alan in 1969. With my mate Alex Saar, I had overlanded during the night, star steering from the northwards on disused tracks. We came out at Mangaroon Station. The next morning at the homestead an irate Alan complained about our nocturnal wanderings, having thought that thieves might be trying to raid his sheds and stock. But Rhonda gave us breakfast with the family and my interest in minerals and the Star of Mangaroon Gold Mine soothed Alan.

We kept up erratic contact and when Hesperian Press commenced its current publishing programme we reprinted Rhonda’s Gold in the Gascoyne in 1986, which described their station life and the Star of Mangaroon mine. In 1991 Winning the Gascoyne created great interest in the station histories. This was followed by Along the Ashburton in 2002.  These are important Western Australian books and with several others of a similar ilk are a template for anyone wanting to record the people and history of their districts. Later these encouraged me to compile histories of the Upper Gascoyne and Upper Ashburton areas. Recently we published detailed indexes to Rhonda’s books so as to enable readers to find the sometimes fleeting glimpses of the bush denizens.

Rhonda loved talking to people and was quick to find those who had a tale to tell. Even the reticent whose stories took some winkling out were not safe. But it was Alan who was the salesman. He would nobble people at the races, meetings, and on the track, and few ever escaped the tollkeeper of the books.

I very much enjoyed Rhonda’s tales of pretentious poisonalities such as one of the ‘Scrub’ clan. The patriarch would have breakfast at the Stidworthy hotel, and then demand a discount because he had not eaten his piece of toast!

Her passion for doll creation and collecting intrigued my daughters as did the collections of minerals and bush relics for myself and other visitors.

The passing of Alan in 2009 left Rhonda rudderless. Looking over the acknowledgements in her books is like a roll call for the Legion of the Lost. With Rhonda now on that hallowed list her passing is a watershed between a fascinating past and the current amorphousness that engulfs us all.  

Rod Dickson


Rod was a powerhouse in all his activities, whether bottle collecting, leatherworking, scrimshaw and knot working as well as tracking treasures of the past, archival research, or in writing books on maritime history.

In my hallway hangs an intriguing example of his sailor’s art.

Over the years we both argued with him and congratulated him, while he produced and we laboured to publish.

Goethe said that no man can do well except that which he loves, and Rod loved doing all the things that he did.

The full list of his publications is in the catalogues of the State Library and National Library.

However there is more to come as we attempt to catch up on our history backlog.

His life story is told in Mum’s Grey Hair.

His battles with the destructive fools in the State Library struck a sympathetic chord with me as I had jousted with the same dragons. Unfortunately in these warped times such creatures are a protected species.

With the passing of another generation of authors whose like we will rarely see again in this homogenised and pasteurised world, the loss of Rod is great.

Our sympathies are with Marilyn and his grandchildren in Melbourne.

Peter Bridge  

Alex Palmer
1927 -2021

Alex Palmer was a prolific researcher and writer of books on goldfields history. In his work he was always supported and accompanied by his wife Elizabeth, who predeceased him by exactly six weeks.

I had known Alex for some decades and our conversations were mainly around our mutual interest in the history of the goldfields. His writing took place after his retirement and their hobby for many years was lapidary and rock hunting.

It was not until I had to winkle some background out of him as I was quietly proposing him for an Order of Australia that I realised how little I knew. Unfortunately dealing with Canberra is fraught with peril and illogical decisions. A problem that I faced, was, that Alex being an independent researcher over many years, meant that finding old associates to support the submission was difficult as he had outlived most of those that he had dealt with. But, as with our growing realisation that taking the ‘king’s shilling’ is the way to ruin, we must be prepared to raise our own cultural heroes from within us and treat the diktats of the politicians and bureaucrats as the poisoned bait that they are. Through his books Alex will live on forever in Western Australian history.

Alex was born at Mt Barker and educated at CBC Fremantle and St Louis College Claremont and graduated from the UWA in “beer and billiards”. He roamed the Pilbara prospecting for some time, cut sugarcane at Cairns for a season, and returned home to work six years in the hardware and glass trade. It was during this time he married Beth Secombe. They had two children and then their world collapsed, he was unemployed. Three years on and with two further children, he studied and worked part time, days and nights, with the unwavering support of his wife, graduating with a degree in chemistry in 1962.

He undertook radio work for NASA at Muchea around 1960. The next 25 years were in the employ of the SEC. Whilst at Muja Power Station near Collie he found great joy in examining the fossils of the Galatea coal seam, finding and adapting new water sources for the Station and finding garnet crystals the size of lawn bowls being used locally as door stops which rekindled his interest in nature.

Alex and Beth joined the WA Lapidary Club in 1967 and the field trips created an interest in the history of those places. Nine books were the result from 1981 to 2012. All of these are available from Hesperian Press.

We very much miss the visits of Alex and Beth, and Sang Hee always sighed over their leaving as they walked hand in hand down our pathway.

Enga Smith 1933-2022.

With her pleasant and calm demeanour Enga Smith was always a pleasure to talk to and her soft voiced phone calls were always a delight. Her love of writing about the people of the bush and recording the history of her bush church groups resulted in many books of reminiscences, poetry and one of fiction. 

Saddle in the Kitchen (1979) remains a favourite of women who remember the horse in their life. “Oh, those sparkling, halcyon days when the sun shone after rain and we were charmed by the simplest pleasure. We envied no-one anything, in fact, we were sorry for anyone who wasn’t us.”

 Mostly Good Times, with Bernard (1986) on their life on Towrana Station steadily selling for many decades showing that the interest in the real lives of our own people continues, despite the efforts of the media manipulators to replace them with alien celebrities and psychopaths.

“On those evenings when we sat round the fire, there was sometimes talk of old times as well as new – times that had been hard and lean with drought and natural disaster – good years and bad years, fun and laughter. Looking back we had to agree, one and all, that they were mostly good times.”

Enga Smith, nee Mills, was born at Geraldton in 1933 and grew up on a farm outside Geraldton.

She married Bernard and they settled in Carnarvon in 1971, where Bernard died in 2008. In later years she retired to a cottage where she wrote and reminisced. Each year she looked eagerly forward to the tourist season when she would set up a table with her books in the Carnarvon town centre, gathering an ever shifting and admiring collection of readers, buyers and reminiscers, some of whom made a point of annual visits to ‘catch up.’

Enga died at Carnarvon on 30 October 2022. 

Yvonne Coate

Yvonne was born at Donnybrook on December 31st, 1937. At the age of five, her parents took up a dairy farm at Margaret River. Later, Yvonne married Kevin and many exciting adventures followed starting with a seven year honeymoon in N.Z. where three of their four children were born. On their return to W.A. they added their fourth.

Yvonne and Kevin were very much a team. They ran a specialty food shop in Garden City before starting up a natural-history-based tour company called, Coate Wildlife Tours (that is still operating today). Added to that, Yvonne volunteered at a women’s night shelter and drove the Canning City pensioner bus.

She was a founding member of the Western Australian Genealogical Society as well as the inaugural editor of the Society’s journal, The Western Ancestor for three years. Combining both interests of the outback and pioneer history, Yvonne (and Kevin) started researching, locating and recording the lonely graves of W.A. Together with Hesperian Press, Yvonne published a number of important books that have been of enormous value to genealogists and historians delving into our pioneering past. In 2009, Yvonne was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her service to the community. In 2014, she was elected a Life Fellow of the Western Australian Genealogical Society.

Yvonne's great love and priority was to her family. The happy times 

camping, picnicking and canoeing continued into her children’s adult life, joining them on trips into the Goldfields, Kimberley, Anne Beadell Highway plus further afield to Africa and Europe. In later years, they tagged along with a wonderful group, 4x4 driving into the remote wide blue yonder.

(from the memento mori booklet)


Yvonne and Kevin’s contribution to the recording of critical aspects of Western Australian history is unique. They produced volumes that would have, and did, daunt, well-funded government and academic institutions. There is nothing else like it elsewhere in Australia and I am unaware of similar anywhere in the world. 

Honouring our people and pioneers by recording their lonely graves and the incidents of terror, starvation, deprivation and loneliness which led them to their final rest in the unhallowed earth of a savage land, was half a life’s work and will be their monument forever.

She will be greatly missed.


Peter Bridge OAM 

14 December 2022.

Alf Thompson

Alf Thompson, a long-time friend and author of And Some Found Graves died on 13 May 2023 at Albany.

Alf did a great deal of historical research around Laverton and his input, together with that of other workers, helped in the build-up of the Great Beyond centre.

Alf had been in the Navy and was one of the guinea pigs at the Monte Bello Islands atomic tests.

Later a warder at the Albany prison.

His great love was his woodworking with natural woods and his bowls from burls had a distinctive aesthetic. I never got to see the quirky little souvenirs that he produced.

Like many of his ilk, he was so busy helping others that much personal projects never saw the light of day.

His wife, Glenis died on 7 June 2021 and that struck home hard. She was jabbed and immediately developed severe facial shingles, which is a known result of the enforced death shot, and died shortly after. One of the many victims of our disgustingly degenerate criminal politicians and medical hierarchy. Hark! Do I hear the tumbrils growling on the highway?

He is greatly missed.

Ian-MurraycvrIan Murray 

Ian was a long-time supporter of the programmes of Hesperian. His special interest was in nomenclature and his books on place names and ghost towns in WA are the standards on those subjects.

When a teenager he was well looked upon by then WA Museum director, Ludwig Glauert, for his role in natural history collecting. He joined the Army and served in the Korean War in Japan.

While in Perth he worked for a jeweller and observed many of the characters of the city. A collection of his observations are in preparation for publishing. Later he ran K9 Security and his tales of the track when keeping control of unruly customers of the Ladies of the Night were most amusing.

His extensive bush travels with a keen eye produced many stories. A further volume on lost goldfields settlements is in preparation for publication. He received an OAM for extensive services to local history. Earlier his wife, Anne, had also been recognised for her social work.

He was a very regular visitor to the castle for chats on current projects. There were few like him and his loss is the passing of an era.

He died on 29 May 2023. He was 93. His biography will be published for the entertainment of old friends. 

Felix William Sainsbury OAM


14th May 1920 – 12th April 2023 

The following is some brief extracts from his eulogy, the full text of which has been deposited in the Battye Library. 

Born Felix William Sainsbury in Albany on the 14th of May, 1920, the second of Cevrin and Annie’s two sons. His older brother was Cecil.

Felix’s parents had arrived from Hampshire in the UK in January 1913 and his dad who was a teacher, was posted to the Goldfields at Mount Sir Samuel, which we now know as Agnew.

In 1940, Felix volunteered to join the Royal Australian Air Force. As there was a long queue trying for aircrew, he trained as an armourer.

He was initially posted to the Point Cook RAAF base in Victoria, then to the Number 9 Elementary Flying Training School at Cunderdin and from there to RAAF Pearce.

Felix saw active service between 1941 and 1943 with 3 Squadron RAAF in the Middle East, North Africa, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, the Libyan regions of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania and finally Tunisia.

It was while in Geraldton that Felix met one of the telephonists on the base, Muriel McLeod and the couple fell in love.

They went on to marry on the 31st of March, 1945, a union of just on 69 years that ended with Muriel’s passing on the 10th of March, 2014.

The union was blessed with children Janet, Derry and John In due course the grandchildren Glen, Todd, Brett and Dale came along and later still, the great grandchildren Sean, Mitchell and Miah.

Felix also took time to publish a book, "Ground Crew" in 2001, based on his WW2 exploits and experiences from personal diaries written in the Middle East and North Africa.

That book has now become a point of reference for family, relatives and children of veterans in the squadron and history researchers to help them understand the history, hardships and what was endured in the lives and deaths of those during the desert campaigns in World War 2.

At 100 Felix was still promoting his book which had become a standard reference for those interested in the airforce in WWII.

His cheery visits are missed.


David John James

David John James, English Australian rock climber and caver died at Rockingham Hospital on 27 October 2023.

Dave was born at Guildford, UK on the 20 November 1942.

Few here in WA had his wide experience. He kept meticulous records of climbing and caving. A remarkably patient and helpful person, nothing was too much to ask of him. And he was that rare man that one could trust one’s life with.

We published his Climb When Ready in 1996, a history of rock climbing in WA.

Unfortunately, when he started to write on the history of caving in WA there were pretentious cliques with loud mouths and little consideration of his generous efforts who immediately attacked, and despite the goodwill of Dave the project had to be abandoned.

In the early days of my caving I learnt that “Committees of twenty deliberate plenty. Committees of ten act now and then. But most of the work is done by Committees of One.”

These guidelines set the stage for my scientific career, and later my prospecting business and publishing. “Blessed is he who expects little, for he shall not be disappointed.”

I do not believe in democracy among the plebians. They are destroyers at heart and one will be cannibalised alive if they are given the chance. Never give them any opportunity to interfere.

Hopefully Dave’s extensive records will be safely preserved by his good wife of 22 years, Choosri Chanbanpot. Our condolences are with her.

From the cover of Climb When Ready.



May 2024

Michael Bourke, author of the brilliant and beautiful book, On the Swan, first published in 1987 and reprinted 2021 by Hesperian. The book never really had the proper support of the Swan Shire, perhaps because of its centring on the English settlers who made the land rather than the later Balkan usurpers. If it had been written later on it would never have got past the detailed 65,000 year history of the first Indian immigrants demanded by the disbursers of the dirtied dollars. Ah, the joys of multiculturalism! Not.

We hope to have a more detailed obituary at a later date.