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bob barrett, robert g barrett, author..

.. couldn’t surf for shit.

All Barrett did was balance up on a board he’d borrowed, anyones, and wave his arms around for some attention. His big arms. Bob Barrett was a big unit so nobody ever told him he was underdone in the surf while he was breathing, but I don’t mind being the first to do it now.

Not that being good in waves was a necessary living condition for him, he just did it for a while – fell off a lot – and when the wreckers pulled down the old Boy’s Club  building up the northern end of Bondi Mr. B. Barrett claimed a large portion of the lovely lawn the council planted in its place as his personal working area.

Him and Bill Bury. Handsome Bill attracted women like a chin dripping with watermelon juice does fruit flies and Big Unit Bob was attracted to Handsome Bill, because Handsome Bill attracted many, many lovely women.

– and they all used the northern end of Bondi to lounge about did these lovely ladies, all partly-clad, deliciously so; and it was goodbye from Bob from to the outlaw south end – and also goodbye to boardshorts and hello sluggos. The studmaster working apparel of the 60’s. Plus the sun oil, and a straw hat.

He came to Jack Mayes’s funeral did Bob; a small affair up at the Junction in 1997. Some of the younger lads much harder men now seated in the pews and Bob was the first of them to sign the back cover of the Muffin Lady’s framed cover shot of Jack doing the Quasimodo at Angourie. BIG signature, everybody else had to crowd their stuff in around it. He was the only bloke in the room with his own pen. That’s how you can pick a writer in a crowd of no-hopers..

We had a reunion of the south bondi boardriders one year and as we passed each other on the stairs at the old Diggers, me going down early and him coming up late – all dressed in black – I said, ” never read your shit Bob, and never will ”

as if he cared ..

Robert G Barrett wrote about 27 books. He invented Les Norton.

Books that litter a thousand work-sites, that were read by pig hunters, small punters and cowboy roofers, soldiers in Afghanistan and invisible men in Iraq. Books that were passed around with the cigarettes and beer until the pages fell out.

.. hey Bob.

his website

Bob Barrett died last week – with work still to be done.



8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mike Bennett #

    Pete, can’t quite figure out if you liked or didn’t like Bob. I remember him from the good old Sth Bondi days, he liked to surf, drink beer and have a good time, who didn’t! Was he “my kind of guy,” not really. He was loud and brash, not my cup of tea, but we were friends! Did I like his books, no, too vulgar, even for me. But I sure admire him for writing them. He grew up in the days of hard drinking, pub crawling, and days spent on the wharves. He built on these experiences and wrote highly embellished stories about them. People have said to me I should write a book on my life, I could, but I’m too lazy! He wasn’t, he did, and he made a lot of bucks. Many years have passed, and in my old age I prefer to think about the good things in people, not the bad. Good on ya Bob.
    Mike Bennet, alias “the Canadian Kook.”
    P. S. I wonder if it’s good to be remembered for something good or bad, or not at all. Hopefully not bad.

    September 24, 2012
    • He was a hard man to like Mike, and he steamrolled a lot of the boys down south – I was just an observer. Though his last couple of messages on his website show him as a fighter, and he was always thankful for folks who bought his books – you don’t get a lot of that from writers.

      September 24, 2012
  2. Red Ted #

    Peter, for your readers who may have known Bob, his funeral will be Friday 28 September, 12 noon at Greenway memorial Gardens, 460 Avoca Drive Green Point. Many who attended Bluey’s service will also be there. Red Ted

    September 24, 2012
  3. sjh #

    One thing i noticed was he reintroduced the love of reading to a bunch of folk mainly blokes that had forgotten how.

    September 25, 2012
    • rip bob barrett, there’s a mess of you old boys out there now.

      September 28, 2012
  4. Cheryl Waterman #

    RIP Mr Barrett. hope the angels are taking great care of you. will miss your stories. we are still reading your collection and are getting loads more people hooked on to Les Norton even now three years after your passing. you get us hooked in and we love listening to the audio books as we drive into the desert and home again. nothing better than les to keep you company with his yarns as your travelling into the never never and back again.

    November 19, 2015
  5. Russell #

    Les Norton meets Clive Cussler.


    Martin Carter is having a crook day. His home life’s a misery, he’s been retrenched by the bank and everyone’s forgotten his birthday. But a million-dollar payroll, a pistol, and a split-second decision change everything. Hurtling north on a motorcycle with the intriguing Faith, Martin encounters a mysterious hit-man, a new-age bikie gang, a reclusive media mogul, and the booby-trapped mountain hideout of an old schoolmate. With Faith’s help he learns about love again, along with some bitter truths about instant coffee, brown suede shoes, and the legendary Great Aussie Truck-stop Breakfast.

    In D-E-D Dead!, Geoff McGeachin’s riotous adventure thriller, Alby Murdoch – international photographer and Australian special agent – ducks bullets and bombs from Bondi to Bali and back as he attempts to unravel a lethal web of high-level dodgy dealings . . . From the moment Alby drops his gun on a St Kilda tram he knows he’s in for a bad day. Then his partner Harry is gunned down in a Double Bay coffee shop. By lunchtime Alby realises someone wants him dead – and they want him dead now. All Alby wants is some pasta, a good bottle of wine and to know more about the mysterious Grace Goodluck . . . long dark hair, legs up to there, and piercing slate-grey eyes…sniper’s eyes. But he also has to figure out who shot Harry and who wants him dead. And why. Unfortunately for Alby, the answer lies over the razor wire and past the anti-personnel mines protecting Bitter Springs, a top-secret US military facility deep in the central Australian desert. Now that can really ruin your day . . . Visit YouTube and watch the trailers Dead and Kicking Sensitive New Age Spy D-E-D-Dead!

    All Alby wants is a decent coffee and a day off. But there’s a hijacked tanker with a deadly cargo in Sydney Harbour, and bullets are flying on board a US Navy cruiser. Three sailors are dead and a Seahawk chopper is missing. Who’s behind the mayhem? Why is the government intent on shutting down Alby’s investigation? What’s the connection to the smooth-talking Reverend Priday, spiritual leader to the upwardly mobile? And can Alby trust Lieutenant Kingston, a weapons specialist with the longest legs he’s ever seen on a sailor and not a tattoo anywhere on her stunning body? Special agent Alby Murdoch, reluctant hero of the riotous D-E-D Dead! , is right back in the thick of things in another hilarious, page-turning romp. Visit YouTube and watch the trailers Sensitive New Age Spy D-E-D-Dead!

    November 19, 2015
  6. I’ll give it a day, Russ – see who likes it. John Birmingham reborn.

    November 19, 2015

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