Garrard was born on 21 January 1911 in Geelong, Victoria. In a thirty year career, from 1926 to 1956, Garrard lost only nine of 525 bouts, making him Australia's most successful sport wrestler ever. Between 1930 and 1956, he won every Victorian wrestling title and ten national titles in the lightweight and light welterweight divisions.
In 1934, he competed in the first of what was to be four consecutive Commonwealth Games (then called the British Empire Games, and in 1954, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games) – an achievement amplified by the twelve-year gap between games from 1938 and 1950, due to World War II. Garrard won the gold medal at the 1934, 1938 and 1950 games, and a bronze at the 1954 games (where he was flag-bearer for the Australian team at the opening ceremony). He also competed in four Olympic Games: 1936 in Berlin, 1948 in London (where he won the silver medal in the welterweight division), 1952 in Helsinki and 1956 in Melbourne. Although Garrard retired from competition after the 1956 Olympics, he continued to officiate in five Olympic Games, and was manager of the Australian wrestling team at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Garrard was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1970, and was made an Officer of the Order (OBE) in 1976. He was awarded an Australian Sports Medal in 2000, and shortly afterwards took part in the Sydney Olympic torch relay, where he lit the community cauldron in Geelong.