Thursday, 29 January 2009

( 4 ) The Ringer...Old Man Geoff Guest

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"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."

Above is a quote that aptly describes Geoff Guest. A man that has had a profound effect on me and countless others.My philosophy has always been to look up to no man and look down on no man....everybody is my equal until they prove otherwise.Most people I admire and have looked up to as role models and wise teachers are dead, Martin Luther King, Jesus, father Gandhi,John Lennon,Leonardo da name but a few that have taught and inspired me to become the man I am now.....except the living master and legend who goes by the name of Geoff Guest.This is a man I look up to....a selfless spirit and true elder...the keeper of wisdom beyond our understanding. A man who can talk with his eyes and his heart.

Read this description of this man and do yourself a favour..look at the attached video at the foot of this will never be the same again.

You give little when you give of your possessions... It's when you give of yourself that you truly give

For the last twenty years and more Geoff Guest and his wife Norma have taken in countless boys and girls under their wings at a place called Petford Training Farm situated west of Dimbulah in far North Queensland. Boys and girls both black and white came there from outlying Aboriginal settlements, towns and cities. Some made their own way there, some were sent by elders, magistrates, social workers, courts, parents and guardians. The one thing they all had in common was for varying reasons they had become alienated from todays societies norms and expectations of them, indeed, for a small percentage of them coming to Petford was their only alternative to institutionalisation. Under the watchful eye and guidance of Geoff and Norma these young Australians were put through a three month Horseman ship course where they learnt to catch wild brumby horses, how to break them in, how to ride and how to care for their mounts. They were also taught basic English and arithmetic, personal hygiene and discipline. For many Petford was the only stable home they had ever known. Away from substance abuse and other negative influences these people had a chance to develop,heal and rebuild their shattered lives so that each and everyone of them had a better chance of gaining mean full employment and a real chance at becoming contributing citizens in a society that had by and large turned their back on them. With very little Government funding somehow Geoff and Norma managed to keep Petford Training Farm together and became father and mother to hundreds of boys and girls that passed through their training programme. Other farms copied their methods and were inspired by the results these people achieved. Geoff earned the Order of Australia award for his services to the Indigenous communities. He was awarded life membership in Rotary International for his efforts. Indeed,just by giving these young people a chance at contributing to our society, feeding them three healthy meals a day,keeping them away from substance abuse,encouraging them to work,train and exercise was enough to accomplish miracles as far as healing was concerned. Each and everyone of those youngsters became better people for having experienced the Petford Training courses. How do you thank these people for the hard work and sacrifice? With a change in State Government in Queensland they stopped all funding, told these people that without proper Social worker qualifications they were not good at the job they did, that most people retire at 65 ( Geoff was nearly 70 at the time ), they made it hard for Geoff and Norma to stay at Petford Station. The people they helped and indeed can help are now back on the streets or in institutions. It costs $50.000 per year to keep a person in jail...these people only ever received a few hundred dollars per person per year that they helped at Petford. Where is the logic in all this? Geoff Guest is in his eighties now. Norma needs to travel from Petford to Atherton Hospital 3 times per week for dialysis. Are these people bitter? No....they put it down to life's experience and their fate...Geoff still rides horses...Norma still cares for anybody that turns up at their door asking for help We appeal to the Thinking people who may read this..please make a financial contribution to help these people....can even supply you with a DVD Documentary of their work by arrangement.

ATTENTION...if you would like to help Geoff and Norma...$10 of every one of my books sold will be donated to can find more information in the right hand column of all my site pages...ideal gifts, Christmas and birthday presents.

This was sent to me a while ago...

Old Man

If we are just a pile of sand
And who’s to say we’re not
There’s some that are a single grain
And some that are the lot

I know a bloke I’m proud to say
He’s what a cove is meant to be
Silent when there’s nought to say
And loud for liberty

He was born on Cherbourg mission
More than eighty year ago
Who his mother and his father were
Well, he will never know

He is a lighter colour than most living there around
He was dragged from his mother’s breast; she was thrown upon the ground
The police and their trackers (they were black but white men’s hounds)
Bundled that poor bugger up, deaf to all the sounds

The crying and the wailing, the endless aching grief
‘That’s a bloody human being, you dirty mongrel thief”
He was dumped at some station, so far out to the west
That if an eagle flew there it’d have to take a rest

Ten or twenty different times, before it found its nest
They used that little feller like a slave, a work horse;
“You’re a pest”
“Welcome to white fellers’ world, and don’t say you need a rest

You’re lucky that we took you from your family and your clan
Your folks now is Snoutty Bill and this rouseabout called Dan
Your ass is meant for kicking and that’s what Dan will do
If he ever sees you loafin’, or trying to steal our stew”

If you ever ride out to the west and you can’t see the Sun or Moon
But you hear some cheerful music, always played in tune
It’s that pale champion of the bush, singing his own song
Concentratin’ on what is right, not squeeling ‘bout what’s wrong

I’ll tell you why the night is sometimes dark, Sun and Moon are hid away
It goes back to those grains of sand and the words that I did say
Every grain from every beach and every desert too
Would be needed to make that kid, denied a plate of stew

But when the universe decided to make that lovely man
They did not make this champion from countless grains of sand
No, he is from a starburst, that’s how gold it comes to earth
This world has not been gifted, with a man of greater worth

When all the gold was in that pile, what a man that pile did make
He expends his sweat and time and life, for good and goodness’ sake
He stands about five foot seven, but he’s the tallest man I know
And every time I meet with him I feel an inner glow

He reaches far past our gleaming Moon, higher than our Sun
I’ve met some bloody champions but he is number one
I ask you to spare a thought and a golden coin or two
He starves so that others eat; that’s me, and you and you

Back to why the bush is sometimes dark, when the time is barely noon
And some nights when you’re out riding and you cannot see the Moon
His giant kindly shadow can the Moon and Sun eclipse
So don’t think your eyes have gone, or getting up to tricks

There’s no reason to be afeared, if you can’t see through the gloom
Because he is looking out for you, he is your Sun and Moon
I’ll tell you the name of him, the highest and the best
Some call him “Old Man”; I call him friend, and Geoff Guest

Seán Pádraig O’Nertney  ©  

The Following was sent by Geoff with a request that it be posted on here to give you an up to date idea of where he is at now    9/2/2012

Geoff started in the ‘70s when asked to help troubled/delinquent youth, generally who liked horses, were in strife at school and/or with the Police, and often had substance abuse problems.  Invariably they drifted between families and had little or no parental control.  They needed to get a job and stay out of trouble.  Geoff knew (intuitively?) that biochemical variables influence behaviour and that delinquency is not just “in the mind” and that too much can be made of past social and psychological events.
Sugar:  He noticed a number of similarities between individuals, initially that they were large users of refined sugar.  At the time Geoff didn’t understand much about low blood sugar levels, looked up what sources he could and later developed a questionnaire.  This indicated many were relatively hypoglycaemic and had hyperinsulinism.  This condition is well documented in relation to criminal behaviour.  Successful treatment included high protein, low sugar diets with frequent regular meals.
Years progressed and he found out/ studied all he could about diet, dietary pH and allergies.  He knew poor diet and substance abuse went hand in hand and that change to alkaline diets helped overcome substance abuse problems. 
Geoff subscribes to the wisdom of the great 12th century physician Moses Maimonides:
“No illness that can be treated by diet should be treated by any other means”

Physical Fitness:  He always believed in keeping fit and that this can be therapeutic for physical and mental problems.  Many of the people he cared for would hold their breath when they became upset so he developed/adapted breathing exercises which became important parts of his approach to therapy. 
Accordingly, the above was found to enhance counselling.

EEGs:  Then Geoff found out about EEGs.  His interest grew when he found out about cats in a NASA trial, when they were preconditioned by operant conditioning to beta and a “new” wave of SMR at 12-15 Hz.  They could resist the onset of seizures when exposed to rocket fuel (monomethyl hydrazine) vapours by at least an hour compared to their untrained controls; in fact 25% of those trained were seizure free and did not die in these trials.
To Geoff’s knowledge there were only two people involved in EEG therapy in Australia at the time.  The other was Rob Bruschken using it with a severely handicapped child in Kuranda  There was no training available in Australia so they went to America together, to Palm Springs, California.
There has now been a lot of work done, e.g. Pedersen analysing alpha and theta wave forms and followed clients for many years with high success rates treating addictions.  Also see Rob Bruschken, EEG Spectrum Australia - Mental Fitness Training (See article www.eegspectrum).  As well, Quirk, a psychiatrist in the Canadian prison system had marked success in reducing the recidivism rates returning to prison among habitual criminals.  The Bruschken, Pedersen and Quirk studies are available on the net along with many, many others.

Neurofeedback:  The practical application of EEG is the basis of Biofeedback under a variety of names.  This is brain training (Bruschken)The therapist has to recognise the patterns of waves and know what the normal measurement of frequency and amplitude is.

          Delta: 0.5 – 3 Hz, deep sleep
          Theta: 4 – 7 Hz, drowsy, distracted
          Alpha: 8 – 11 Hz, relaxed, aware but not very focussed
          Beta: 16 – 18 Hz, excited, active external attention
         High Beta: 19 – 35 Hz, high correlation with anxiety, intensity or lots of muscle tension
          SMR: 12-15 Hz, relaxed, external attention
(figures from Stearman)

The Enduring Search:  Geoff is not satisfied unless he is undertaking continuous education and looking for new methods or researching widely.  E.g., he has observed:
•        Four types of alcoholics needing different types of treatment
•        Six types of ADD
Many things mimic outward signs of mental illness.  Many types of mental illness respond well to vitamins and minerals.  E.g. elevated or lowered blood levels of copper are not routinely examined clinically in association with behavioural problems.  Vitamin B6 and Zinc deficiencies are common in patients with mental illness but are rarely checked.
Over the years Geoff has learned to recognise the profiles of these people.  He sees the need to get proper professional diagnosis and good professional help.  Often the mainstream medical profession is not attuned to these problems and their solutions.
Over time Geoff has worked with more than 4000 people in residential care and this has motivated him to keep looking for answers.  Many other unusual conditions often appear which are supposed to be rare but in fact are not.  E.g., young lads with advanced body clocks past their actual years.  Simple X-rays of joints/wrists (for epiphyseal closure) can aid in assessment leading to medical treatment once a diagnosis is made.
Allergies:  It is now known that an adverse food reaction can cause a significant drop in blood sugar if the person’s endocrine system is overreacting or dysfunctional.  Ingestion of food to which a person is “allergic” can cause a marked rise with a subsequent drop in blood sugar.  Most important here is that blood sugar level imbalances can be related to a number of causes other than the ingestion of sweets.
pH: Western diets are chronically acidic which may not seem to be important in the mainstream population, but it is critical in those with any neurological, attitudinal or affective problems.

Geoff has:
          Trained in the Philippines for United Nations in Emergency Relief: Regional Emergency Psychological Support Network (RESPN) – East Asia-Pacific Region; (August 2004)
          Gone to the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya dealing with PTSD result of war/”occupation” in civilians and ex-child soldiers, and set up projects there at his own expense
          Worked for Volunteer Australia: production of coconut oil as a “cottage industry” at Milne Bay, PNG
          Actively visited rehabilitation centres in USA and Germany to gain knowledge (he noted that they did not combine the five successful components of Biofeedback, physical fitness and controlled breathing exercises, vitamin supplementation, allergies and diet in one treatment style)

Geoff is indebted to a number of mentors over the years e.g.
          Neville Yeomans, Psychiatrist of Fraser Hall fame, who has stayed at Petford for 6 weeks at a time
          Dr Earnest Hunter, Psychiatrist, Cairns
          Thomas Hartman, US Author of many books on ADD and mental health and who has also stayed several times
          Rob Bruschken, Cairns with reference to EEG
and many others, great and small, whose assistance has always been appreciated and valued.

Geoff has been recognised in part for his efforts in being awarded
          an Order of Australia Medal (OAM)
          the Centenary of Federation Medal for Service to Australian Society
          the Paul Harris Fellowship, Rotary International Medal for Service to Youth
          feature articles in the Australian Geographic (1994) and the National Geographic (1996)

There is a clear need for the establishment of a course of instruction for people who wish to carry on Geoff’s work.  It could be
Course of Natural Therapy: Recovery of Health and Ability

The elements of which could be:
·                     Physical Fitness and breathing exercises
·                     Biofeedback
·                     Diet and vitamin supplementation
·                     Understanding allergies
·                     Referral of clients to appropriate Clinical Specialists
Geoffs and Normas Ph. Number is (07) 40 935 365

if you are going to leave a comment on here please be sure to add an email address...some of the comments are coming through as anonymous and ask questions which cant be answered due to no return email address being attached.



  1. i was there in 1987,i worked on stations for a couple of years then settled down and had my own family. have cert in nursing and now at the age of 36 finally have a trade as a mechanic.i have allways regarded jeff and norma as family, 24yrs later i would still love to go back there and live,every day was a learning adventure,the people there and the relationship we all had i have never encounter any where else. i take my hat off to jeff and norma, miss you guys and hope all is going well for petford training farm....justin gowley

  2. I met Geoff in Palm Springs Ca. I am not sure how but I still feel connected with him. I like to think that some how when I am thinking of him and Australia and the people that maybe they are thinking of me. I think the story of Geoff is time less and universal, all people need is a chance and some one to show them a way

    Alfonso Bermea

  3. My husband and I sent our 18 year old son to stay with Geoff Guest last year. I am eternally grateful for both he and Norma's amazing influence on our son's life.

    We tried countless government 'approved' and funded programs and services with absolutely no results. They were operated by small-minded people out for the funding rather than helpful and meaningful results.

    Geoff Guest and taught Mike to respect himself and others. He is now enrolling in a community services course.

    The governmental methodology is what will send Australian youth further into drugs, alcohol and irresponsible behaviour. Geoff and Norma are the kind of folks all of Australia should be proud of. We wish there were more like them.

  4. I ran into Geoff(Old Man) in Ravenshoe,Qld Australia 2010 and out of my unbelieve, I asked him "when will you grow old you still the same" his 83yo and still fit and healthy like when I've first known him he was about 60+ that roughly 20+ years ago, I've met him once outside Cairns base Hospital but never really had a conversation with him or took any notice cause we were both on the move, and that's something to see old man in that pysical state. I reakon he is doing the right things, by changing poeple spiritaully, emotionally and pysically, the goverment need to support these kind of people, with their programs, cause these people have visions for others. May God's blessing be upon Geoff and Norma and their staff.

  5. Peter Mansfield24 April 2011 at 20:37

    Born in the USA, my first trip to Australia in December 1990 somehow landed me at the Petford Training farm 10 days later. I had the good fortune to stay there with Geoff and Norma and the boys for the next two weeks. Never before or since have I met anyone so in touch with the land. Their ways were mysterious to me. Goeff taught me a bit about horses. He insisted that I learn how to make a woven leather belt which I still have. While we were talking he might bend down and do some ad hoc gardening. He was both kind and direct with the boys. I'm happy to learn that he continues to live today. He's a hero. Written by Peter Mansfield

  6. Hi there- I have just spent 5 days with Geoff and Norma up at their camp. We did loads of stuff - up at 3 on the hospital days, up at 5 every other day - starting a stallion - Taking Norma to Atherton - helping a young lady at court- some EEG treatments- and plenty of 1:1 study. He even had the time and energy to go for a ride with me through the bush ( even though he is waiting for a hernia operation).
    I have just started out in my quest to enhance the lives of young people at risk. I am trying to get Equine Assisted Learning started here on the out skirts of Canberra. I am also studying for my Youth work diploma. I am 47. I am in awe of what this man has achieved in his lifetime and he is still working (despite Normas dialysis), 7 days a week for NOTHING! They suffered quite alot recently at the hands of Cyclone Yasi and lost alot of good gear and the rooves of a few builings. They have no money to replace it- I believe they got a bit from the Gov for flood damage, but no where near enough to fix things up properly. He is passionate about training up some people to do what he has done for the past 40 years- BUT NEEDS FUNDING! An amazing human- words can't express somebody like him.

  7. I am busy trying to get the attention of Noel Pearson(and anyone else who will listen), to help set up some training scheme where geoff can pass on his knowledge. If there is anyone out there who has any ideas on fund raising or getting the polititians attention, please let me know-

  8. Hi Sam

    We are looking for Geoff to learn from him and continue his work, we have some funding asll be it very little.I will let you know how we go.

  9. Geoff is still in Petfort - using neurobiofeedback as healing tool among other modalities.

    Pamela Feb 7, 2012

  10. I'll have to wander up there sometime to see what he has done since with bio-feedback. I now know a lot more about it than I did when I first met him (in the early 90's?). He's the only person in Australia I've ever met that is using this method in a way which meaningfully impacts Australians. Wish a few more practitioners would make the effort. It's a great technique but not enough people teach it or promote it.

  11. I notice that a lot of people visit this site to learn about Geoff and Norma...he is encouraged by your comments and inspires him to keep going. Have you ever considered that a simple message left here is treasured by these people, in fact it will be good karma for you if you do leave a comment...a simple hello will do.
    Hans Van Veluwen...editor in charge of this page.

    1. Hello Hans ~
      My name is Sufiyo, I briefly connected with Geoff & his wife in 2006, with my partner at the time, Luke, who was especially interested in plant medicine. With much respect I have remembered their work and generosity and often wondered what Geoff is doing now. I was referring him to a friend today and his number popped up in my contacts! So I am curious all the more how he and his wife are... Time has passed I know....
      Blessings on them both.

  12. Hello everyone!

    My name is Siobahn and the had the pleasure of meeting Geoff and Norma in January this year. He wants to continue his work but he needs some funding from whoever is willing to supply it. He has asked me to help out, and as this is such a wonderful resource I have shared it on a Facebook page I started to raise awareness of the invaluable work of this amazing couple and to also demonstrate just how many people support him. If you could all please "Like" you will become a fan of the page. Please tell all your friends to have a look & read about the work they do. Anything you can think of that would help to grow our numbers would be so very much appreciated. Then when the time comes to submit funding, we will have the numbers which will demonstrate the support from the community.

    @ Hans, I would love to use some of your photos & biographical info about Geoff on the Facebook page. I have sent you an email with my contact details and a proposal for working together to help Geoff.

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this and I hope that I will see your faces on the Facebook page.

    Kindest regards
    Siobahn Morgan

  13. Please visit this link instead... renamed the page.


  14. Hi all I see that some of you have helped to get Geoffs goals up and running - That is so great!! I am looking for Hope Summer :" Aya", someone who facebooked me ages ago and I have only just seen the message. It was about getting something togather down here near Canberra. If anyone knows Aya - could they please email me at - Thanks so much : ) Caught up with Geoff briefly in the holidays- Oh boy that man looks good for his age!! Proof in the pudding eh?

  15. Is Geoff still alive and around? If so, could somebody drop me an email with info on how I can contact him?

    Thom Hartmann
    thom at thomhartmann dot com

    1. Hi Thom, Geoff is still helping people to the fullest of his ability (and wallet), in Petford and weekly in Atherton. He had his 90th birthday last December 2016. Sadly he lost Norma, his wife about 19 months ago. You can call him evenings on +61 740935365 (if he's not out chasing horses or cows). Cheers, Sandi.

  16. what an incredible couple!

  17. Grandad geoff and nanna norma still gota that farmsadly nanna norma passed away this year she will be missed only geoff and some people still go to the farm help around his way over the age of 85 now and his still fit breaking horses fixing stuff and driving around all about that healthy diet and his still alive go visit him sometime people go easter when the creeks full �� -David solomon normas grandson

  18. I went to see the "Old Man" 2 weeks ago, after facing the loss of my lease and the loss of 18 breeding horses... I went to see the old feller because I was almost out of options, you helped restore my faith in the concept that if you keep following the path of truth and honesty you will prevail. Geoff you are a legend, there are few I consider living hero's your one and Ben Robert-Smith VC is the other, that any of might aspire to follow in your footsteps, you leave large boots to fill.

    Your not so Old Mate,
    Privileged that you remembered even more privileged that you shook my hand in acknowledgment after a breaking session.

  19. Well, I went to see the "Old Man" about 2 weeks ago... had not seen him for a few years so expected he would not remember me. I went seeking help after loosing my farm lease and loosing most of my 18 core breeding horses. I was looking for somewhere to ware house some stock, You welcomed me as a friend and opened your heart, you restored a little of my lost faith in humanity. Geoff you are a legend and have few peers, only one comes to mind Ben Robert-Smith VC another true Hero. There are few that I aspire to follow as I have big feet but the boots you will one day leave I doubt I could fill.

    Your not so "Old Mate"
    Paul (Smiley) O'Reilly.

  20. Great to hear your still going well Geoff and Norma. I was out there nearly 20 years ago. Keep up the great work guys. Have you tried getting funding from the EU? They give away 50billion Euros each year in foreign aid. A large portion is set aside for protecting indigenous human rights such as the right to access to medical care and education. Contact me if you would like me to make some enquiries. I live in the Netherlands and have contacts with access to this sort of information. Kind Regards and top job mate.

  21. Geoff was the first person to be really helpful to us when our children diagnosed with ASD/ADHD, his patience and insight is invaluable, it is an honor to know him and we get up to Petford as often as we can to spend time with him and try and soak up his knowledge.

  22. Hi Geoff and Norma. Maybe you will remember me? I lived at the Camp for a few months in the late 80's. I am a white girl, who was 22 years old at the time. I was homeless, living under a tarp up the Goldsborough Valley, when i read about Petford Camp in a people magazine. I contacted you as i grew up with horses, and wanted to come out. You picked me up in your truck when you came to Cairns for supplies and you gave me a little house up the road to live in. I had a little mini moke car, and a dingo and a rottweiler. I am a kiwi (an aussie now as well). Anyhow, whether you remember me or not, no matter, my time with you both at Petford was lifechanging. I helped Aunty Norma in the kitchen, and i spent alot of time out with you and the boys in the yards. I remember wanting to be the first one on the back of a newly broken horse, but you wouldn't let me, as the risk of being bucked off was high. You were protective of me, so thoughtful and kind. I remember riding the horses to the dam, and my horse was excited and you had to ride alongside and pull him up for me. Such good memories. I fell in love with the 'boys' and their wild energy while i was there, and when i left God put it in my heart that i would work again with indigenous children/youth again one day. Well that day has come and God has began to open up that desire in my heart. I have a face book page: Rivers in the Desert: which i have started so my friends and family can follow my adventures. I found this page when i was researching Petford Camp so i could write about it as part of my story. I would truly love to see you again, Old Man (as i used to call you) and Aunty Norma, maybe that will be possible one day. Thank you so much for taking me in, and giving me a home back then, a lone white girl in a strange country, so blessed me. Love and blessings to you both, Joh Love


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