When a geologist looking for gold in North Queensland hires a new exploration crew, the stage is set for some unusual events. There is Jim, an out of work Kiwi butcher who has never been in the bush before; Art, an overweight lay-about and boaster who turns out to be worse than useless, and Chas, a saint who has eugh equipment to run a BHP exploration camp, except its use-by date is long gone. It is a team that would test the patience of a saint. Fortunately one is present. Interspersed with some sharp card gambling practices there is a rotten egg episode, a tangle with a razorback boar, hallucigenic mushrooms, floods, the '87 stock market collapse, a helicopter crash, some unusual affairs of the heart and many other episodes; (they even find some gold). In this tongue-in-cheek account by veteran geologist Robert Pyper, he describes the trials of a field exploration geologist over an 18-month period. It is a book designed to gladden the heart and keep you chuckling page by page.
Robert graduated in Geology from Melbourne University in 1961and spent many years first as a field geologist and later as a wide roving consultant traveling to many parts of the world. He still runs a geological consultancy and has drawn on his experiences to write two light-hearted books with a strong geological theme. The first, Meekatharra. From Gold Dust to Bull Dust is an autobiographical account covering the period 1972-76 when the rising gold price revitalized the great goldfields of Western Australia after 35 years of inactivity. Those early explorers opened the bank vaults to vast wealth but there were many pitfalls on the way and the book introduces us to lost opportunities and a landscape as rich in eccentric prospectors as it was in gold . Robert has two grown up children and apart from writing his main hobby is singing. Robert is a baritone who has sung bass solo roles in many places during his travels as a geologist and combined with Peter Krenske on piano to record two CDs of classical songs. He has also produced a CD of Australian ballads.