Phipps' art auction fundraiser at Our Place for Shitbox Rally

Jan and Rick Phipps are hitting the (long) road in their 2003 VY Holden ‘Combombadore’, while fundraising for the Cancer Council.
Jan and Rick Phipps are hitting the (long) road in their 2003 VY Holden ‘Combombadore’, while fundraising for the Cancer Council.

Would you tackle a 5000 km drive from Perth to Sydney, via Uluru, in a 16-year-old sedan worth less than $1000?

That’s just what Rick and Jan Phipps will be doing this May at part of the Shitbox Rally to raise money for cancer research.

“Everyone has had someone affected by cancer, so it’s a good cause,” Rick said.


He and Jan have been trying to join the rally for four years after seeing a documentary on the rally. With the number of rally participants limited, however, this is the first year they’ll be taking to the road. Their shitbox for the 10-day adventure is a 2003 VY Holden ‘Combombadore’ which Ben Silver of Sexton & Green sent their way.

Cosmetically the sedan may not be too straight but Rick said it’s mechanically sound. Although he admits he’s no mechanic, the rally will have great support in the form of fellow Tenterfieldians Mundy Sattolo (a rally regular) and Craig Magner.

Each team has to raise at least $5000 to enter and the Phipps’ ‘Feral Bushman Taxis’ team is around half-way there with online donations. They and other teams, though, aim to raise as much as they can for the Cancer Council.

Kicking off the effort is the Cancer Council Charity Art Auction the Phipps are hosting at Our Place Wine and Espresso Bar on Saturday, February 23 from 6.30pm, with the auction starting at 8pm. The $29 door price provides a drink on arrival, canapes throughout until 8.30pm, and a bidding card for around 24 auction items curated from great artists and photographers locally and beyond.

More art will be displayed throughout the premises and offered to interested buyers with the commission being donated to the Feral Bushman Taxis team.

Artists’ Collective Studio members have kindly donated works, including jewellery pieces created by Pam Docherty, as has Our Place. Peter Reid, Peter Mustoo, professional photography Brody Grogan (now Brisbane-based) and others have also provided stunning photography.

There may also be some creations from popular sculptor Michael Pieper for the astute collector.

Rick said the collection will cover a wide variety of genre and there’ll be something for everyone. Even those not interested in buying art can come along for a great social evening to support the Phipps’ endeavour.

They are planning more fundraisers including a trivia night in early March at the Deepwater Brewery and golf tournament in early April, again in Deepwater.

Past Shitbox Rallies have been over seven days running north-to-south. This trek is changing orientation and has been stretched to 10 days to mark the rally’s 10th anniversary.

James Freeman founded the rally back in 2009 after both of his parents died from cancer within 12 months of each other. The overall fundraising total since stands at $14,782 million, making it the largest independent fundraiser for the Cancer Council nationally.

Records were broken last year with fundraising totals reaching $1.974 million. This has set the bar for a new 2019 fundraising goal of $2 million, and the Phipps are keen to contribute as much as they can.