Revealed: Bodyguards of Australia’s rich and famous
STEP out of the shadows the musclebound, fearless and highly-paid bodyguards dispatched to protect the country's underbelly figures, the rich and privacy-obsessed famous.
Seven media-shy, highly sought-after stars of the protective services world have been at the forefront of protection for the last decade taking dangerous risks to protect "The Boss" with military precision and planning.
Impenetrable, worldly, composed and poised beyond their training, these bodyguards prefer to lie low but are known in necessary circles as the "must have" protectors of their generation - chiselled, charming and ferociously confident.
Some are privately-educated and not at all product of their environment, others have risen through the ranks of the Australian Federal Police, or graduated from the school of hard knocks with a pedigree in defence.
Australian Federal Police bodyguards have protected politicians in Australia since 1917, when former PM Billy Hughes was egged by a furious Patrick Michael Brosnan, - who got a clear shot and knocked his hat off when he was drumming up support for the plebiscite for conscription in World War I.
Hughes reached for his pistol in his jacket pocket and realised he had left it on the train. That year the Commonwealth Police was established and formed the AFP in 1979.
Since becoming a break out Married At First Sight star, Cyrell Paule has employed the burly Richard Galea, a New York trained actor originally from Mount Druitt, to mind her.
Weeks ago she arrived a friends' Jules Robinson and Cameron Merchant's engagement party with boyfriend Eden Dally on one side and musclebound Galea on the other.
"She was in at Flamingoes lounge when someone stole her purse on April 15 and she hasn't felt safe since," a source close to the reality TV actress revealed.
"Now she takes him everywhere she goes."
Sicilian-born nightclub owner Mim Salvato is no official security guard but he is often seen hovering in the background at glittering gatherings and meetings, keeping a friendly eye out for his old friend, nightclub owner, John Ibrahim.
Flashing a Hollywood smile, he once quipped, "It's women who give him the biggest headache, who I need to protect him from the most - not hitmen."
Ibrahim has recently told friends "I'm retired, I no longer need a bodyguard."
SEMI 'TONGAN SAM' NGATA
Ibahim's official, longstanding bodyguard Semi 'Tongan Sam' Ngata, 61 is now whispered to be chaperoning Sydney construction figure George Alex.
While Ngata is having to apply his tough-guy's scowl to his own life as he awaits trial on charges of drink-driving after allegedly smashing into multiple cars in western Sydney's Merrylands, Alex has sought his services to shield him from company he has traditionally kept - standover men, bikies, terrorists.
MARK "HAMMER" DIXON
Former boxer and bodyguard to jailed cop Roger Rogerson Mark "Hammer" Dixon these days provides protective services to nightclubs when he's not truck driving.
A former Anglican Church Grammar School "churchie", one of Queensland's most elite private educational facilities, Hammer is definitely not a product of his environment in the life he has forged.
Chatty, effervescent and charming, he told The Daily Telegraph: "I've never been very academic so security work became my thing.
"I was shocked and felt sad about Rogerson he pulled the wool over my eyes," he said of Rogerson's conviction over student drug dealer Jamie Gao.
"Two days before he was arrested he was sitting with me in the gym, an old grandad, like nothing ever happened … He can mask any feeling or fear he has.
"I still do a bit of work on the side, but I'm 45 now and knocking on.
"But if Pauline Hanson, or John Howard asked me I'd get back in the game full time."
Aussie Richard Norton, trained in martial arts by Bruce Lee, acted as bodyguard to several celebrities, including ABBA on their Australian tour, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, and later became an actor starring in films including Jackie Chan and Mr Nice Guy.
These days he turns his talents to working behind the camera as a fight co-ordinator on films Mad Max Fury Road, Suicide Squad and X Men.
"I can still fight my way out of trouble but I prefer acting these days," he said.
Adrian Gard, 51, of BGI Security, has protected a litany of big names - Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, Hugh Jackman, Mick Jagger and Schapelle Corby during his 30-plus year career.
Friends and clients of the internationally renowned bodyguard dubbed "Gardie" rallied to defend him when he was charged several years ago over discovering of a listening device in an All Blacks rugby team hotel room during the 2016 Bledisloe Cup campaign.
Gard was cleared of causing public mischief over a bugging device but found guilty of acting as a security consultant without the proper licence.
"I'm overseas working," he said sheepishly, adding, "I don't talk about what I do."
Former AFP cop Andrew Stark is Australia's answer to Kevin Costner and dominated the landscape in 2012 when he threw a bulky, protective arm around then prime minister, Julia Gillard.
The square-jawed Close Personal Protection officer swooped to escort her into a waiting car when she and Tony Abbott were besieged by chanting protesters who had surrounded the Canberra restaurant they were in.
Gillard lost a navy blue heel in the scuffle but is today fiercely protective of Stark for his swift decision to execute a "run and hide" escape.