Pirgos Press - A Queensland Publishing House

HISTORY: This small but innovative publishing house specialises in art books and works of historical non-fiction. Founded in 1992 as Pandanus Press in Brisbane, (the title ‘Pandanus Press’ was purchased by the Australian National University in 2005) so the name was changed to Pirgos Press (‘pirgos’ being Greek for ‘tower’ as their trade distributors are Tower Books of French’s Forest, Sydney.

STAFF:  Design Editor Jake de Vries; Creative editors  Barbara Ker Wilson, AO,  former president of the Australian Society of Authors and Catherine Hammond.  Pictures Editor Susanna de Vries; Sales and Marketing Director Marusia McCormick.  Editorial Advisor Sheila Jamieson.

PUBLISHING LIST: Their first publication was Conrad Martens on the Beagle and in Australia, originally commissioned by Greenhouse Press, at the time owned by Kerry Packer, whose collection of some of Conrad Martens’ finest watercolours was illustrated in the book.  When Packer sold his Martens’ paintings and his book-publishing business but Susanna and Jake de Vries refused to give up. They set up their own  small publishing house. In 1993 they launched Conrad Martens on the Beagle and in Australias with help from Christie’s Painting Department. The hardback edition sold out within weeks but the paperback edition is still in print, obtainable from Booktopia (see link from this website’s Homepage).

Next came Susanna’s illustrated biography, Ethel Carrick Fox and a third edition of Susanna’s classic work,  Historic Sydney: The Founding of Australia and s Against the Tide, an in-depth biography of the celebrated artist Bob Dickerson by his wife, Jenny which  sold out in the hardback and paperback editions and is now a rare book. In 1996 the Pirgos book Parenting Girls became an Australian and was published in England and America, written by Dr Janet Irwin and a team of doctors, teachers and  health experts.

In 2005 Pandanus changed its name to Pirgos Press.  ‘Pirgos’ is the Greek word for ‘tower’ and the Tower of Prosforion at Ouranoupolos, near Thessaloniki featured on the cover of Susanna’s award winning book, Blue Ribbons Bitter Bread, the Life of Joice Loch, Australia’s Most Decorated Woman. This Greek village is now home to  the Joice and Sydney Loch Memorial Museum. Joice and Sydney Loch, originally came from Queensland and Gippsland., The Lochs became aid workers in Poland and Greece and saved the refugee village of Ouranoupolis from starvation by encouraging a rug-weaving co-operative. One Pirgos Rug in the Museum was a gift from the Australian government. Pirgos Press is proud to have published an award-winning book that raised public awareness of Joice and Sydney Loch as Australian  humanitarians of international standing.

Private customers can obtain  Pirgos Press books and other books by Susanna from other publishers through Booktopia Discount Books and all main Australian booksellers. Pirgos Press has taken a deliberate decision not to expand.  They have a full publishing programme for the next five years. PIRGOS REGRET THAT THEY ARE UNABLE TO  ACCEPT UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS OR JOB APPLICATIONS.