Happy 90th Birthday to Trust Icon Bob Prickett

13 May 2016


Cairns Sculptor Dusty Bob Prickett has been enjoying a quiet love affair with marble at his home in Trinity Beach for more than 30 years.

It is there that he has created hundreds of ethereal forms from his stockpile of Chillagoe marble – sculptures which now sit in private collections around the world and which are currently on show at Red Chair Gallery in The Pier.

A civil engineer and selftaught artist who used the tools of his former trade to sculpt marble into exquisite shapes and figurines, his objects of beauty had another purpose – funding medical research to benefit Australians.

Dusty Bob, who turns 90 on May 14, is one of Australia’s most generous benefactors, having sponsored 36 Churchill Fellowships since 1993.

His actions are a legacy of his own 1967 Churchill Fellowship, which allowed him to spend a year in America at the University of California.

A senior engineer with the Department of Works in Darwin at the time, he studied public health aspects of water supply sewerage treatment and re-use in tropical and arid regions. “Like many Churchill Fellows, Bob regards his Fellowship as a life-changing experience, hence his determination to give as much back to the Trust as possible,” said Winston Churchill Memorial Trust CEO Paul Tys.

“His generosity to the Trust has been exceptional. “He personally leads a very frugal existence so more can be provided to the Trust. He bottles his own fruit and makes his own beer.” Mr Tys said the Bob and June Prickett Churchill Fellowship for the Study of an Aspect of the Health of Australians was established in 1985 after Bob and his late wife, June, retired to Cairns.

“To date Bob has sponsored 36 fellowships and arrangements have been put in place for fellowships to be awarded annually in perpetuity.” After being diagnosed with prostate cancer, a battle which continues today, Bob sponsored a fellowship on prostate cancer treatment to help others suffering the often fatal disease. Another was awarded for research into organ and tissue donation.

Mr Tys said Bob maintained ongoing contact with his Fellows and presented each with a marble statue, Embrace. “Bob is an exceptional Australian, an exemplary Churchill Fellow and shows a generosity that knows no bounds,” Mr Tys said.

A Dusty Journey by sculptor Dusty Bob (Robert) Prickett opened last night at the Red Chair Gallery, Shop G28, The Pier and continues through May and June.

Printed on 7 May 2016 Weekend Post, Cairns

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