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recon is pleased to announce our support for community stalwart Giles Cooper on his upcoming “Lap of Australia” to raise funds for both the Cancer Council and Macular Disease Foundation.

You might ask “What’s so special about a lap of Australia? Plenty of people have already done that.” Alby Mangels, Mike & Mal Leyland, and most notably the first automotive lap of Australia conducted almost 100 years ago in 1925 by a couple of blokes named Neville Westwood and Greg Davies respectively.

What makes Giles’ ‘Lap of Australia’ different is he’s planning to do it in his newly restored COVID project, a 1970 VW Type 3 1600 Fastback affectionately named Clementine. Not content to rest easy at night, he is also towing his accommodation with him in the form of a flatbed trailer which raises into a tent; a construction of his own design.

Giles and Clementine
Flatbed Camper Trailer

Giles, however, is no sprite being now 75yrs young having lived a life as a Chemical Engineer through the Middle East and wilds of Africa. He’s already a veteran of some epic journeys such as driving a Lotus Elise from the Gold Coast to the Arctic Circle in 2012, as navigator in an Austin Healey on a Beijing to Paris rally in 2019, and driving a ‘Troopie’ Landcruiser from Australia to Alaska … via Ushuaia, Argentina in 2014 continuing onto Europe into 2016.

Elsie in the Arctic
Beijing to Paris

In Giles’ own words, “…This time I have decided to support Cancer Research again (once again because of my personal journey), and also the Macular Disease Foundation of Australia. While many are unaware of this disease, one in seven Australians over the age of 50 have signs of age-related macular degeneration. Personally I have a sister who is almost totally blind from the disease, while my best buddy from school days is now blind in one eye and has severely restricted vision in the other. It is not a fun disease. But as with all diseases, while not always curable, early diagnosis can greatly reduce the final impact, so the push is to persuade people to get check-ups regularly, especially when younger. (Hint, hint…)…

With Giles’ age added to Clementine’s, that makes a combined age of 128yrs, proving age is no barrier to adventure. As you can see from the links above, he’s not shy about documenting his travels and this journey will be no different. His objective, other than a full lap of the continent is, as much as possible in a VW Fastback, to visit the four points of the compass of our big patch of dirt; Darwin is a fair substitute for Cape York, in a VW, on to Steep Point in WA, Wilsons Promontory in VIC, Cape Byron in NSW, and home to the Gold Coast.

You can keep track of Giles’ progress at:

Giles would really appreciate anyone following along to donate to either of his two chosen charities to help further in cancer and macular degeneration research.

“…It is only by supporting such worthy causes that we can help fund the best Australian research and care for patients. Research provides us with hope for a future where no one goes blind from macular disease or loses their life to cancer…”


Clementine and Trailer