• Peter Garrett: then and now. Before the famous cue-ball look and now on SBS's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Supplied/SBS)Source: Supplied/SBS
Peter Garrett: rock star, activist, politician and legendary cue-ball. Before he went on to become one of Australia's most prominent public figures though, Garrett had a very luscious head of locks.
Genevieve Dwyer

14 Sep 2016 - 1:12 PM  UPDATED 22 Sep 2016 - 2:46 PM

Back in his surfer days, a young Peter Garrett had a mighty blonde mane of hair. 

In his memoir, Big Blue Sky, the reasons that Garrett gives for shearing it all off, was that it kept getting in the way of the camera when he was trying to snap surf photos at the beach. Among his original career aspirations was the dream of working as a professional surf photographer, but he never had much luck getting published. 

Once he lost the locks, his shiny head coupled with his unmissable six-foot-plus frame gave him the signature rockstar look that would stay with him throughout his life, even during his years in Parliament. 

As impressive as his original shaggy 'do was though, it is actually far from the most significant thing in this precious and poignant family photo. In fact, it's a miracle that this picture survived:

Only a couple of years after the death of his father, when his younger brothers Andrew and Matthew were still at school, the Garretts lost their family home in a house fire in which many such photographic memories and possessions were destroyed. 

In a tragic twist so soon after the loss of his father, the fire also claimed the life of his mother Betty. 

Betty can be seen above (far right) pictured with the boys at a family barbecue, not long before that devastating event. 

"That was a shock and a big tragedy for us," Garrett says in an upcoming episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

"Family's always been pretty important to me. Whatever else is going on, whatever else is happening in your life, the one thing you have with family is the love and support. And we're a close family."

Speaking of the time when they had just lost both parents, Garrett explains: "The boys were just coming out of school and into uni and I was still at university and had just started in music and we suddenly found ourselves like three little sardines in a sardine can in a little apartment in Sydney."

"It did bring us together and obviously that's a bond that stays." 

As fascinating (and tragic) as his most recent family history is, a lot of Peter's family tree has, up until now, remained a mystery to him.

Investigating his ancestry on WDYTYA, Garrett will uncover some shock hidden family secrets, unraveling a 50-year mystery, a secret love affair and family involvement in an island that was home to a little-known, dark and shocking chapter of Australian Indigenous history following European settlement. 


Stream Peter's episode now at SBS OnDemand or watch below to see exactly what he discovered. 

In the meantime, flick through the gallery of family and childhood pics from back when Peter was more hirsute, below:


Watch Peter's episode of Who Do You Think You Are right here:

Watch the first seven seasons of Who Do You Think You Are in full - streaming now at SBS On Demand

Discover your story with a 14 day free trial at Ancestry.

Flashback: Julia Morris's famous cheeky grin was there on the first day of school
Turns out the fabulous and vivacious Julia Morris was just as bubbly and loveable as a youngster...
Julia Morris discovers that passion runs in the family on Who Do You Think You Are?
Legendary Aussie funny lady Julia Morris is known for her vivacious personality, so it's perhaps unsurprising when she unearths ancestors with passionate beliefs and fierce determination in her journey on Who Do You Think You Are?
Peter Garrett - Who Do You Think You Are? Season 8
Musician, activist and politician Peter Garrett’s passions are well known. But where do these passions stem from?