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11 February 2011

Pip Wherrett (1936 - 2009) motorsports journalist, racing driver, broadcaster.

Peter Wherrett's father was a pharmacist in West Ryde, Sydney, NSW, a secretive cross-dresser, a wife abuser, an epileptic.
 Peter learned to drive at age 12. In 1958 he complained to various newspapers about the lack of motorsport coverage, and was hired by The Sydney Morning Herald to do just that. In 1967 he set up Australia's first post-licence driver training school. He drove in the 1969 Bathurst 1000 race for Mazda, in 1970 for Ford, and in 1974,75 and 76 for Alfa Romeo.

From 1973 to 1980 he hosted and co-wrote Torque, a popular television show about motoring. He was also a member of the cross-dressing Seahorse Society at this time. In 1981, Peter having complained about Mitsubishi's GH Sigma, Mitsubishi produced 1016 cars based on his improved design. In the 1980s he explored alternate energies for the television series The Balance of Power. In 1985 he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. In the 1990s he was the motoring guru for Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

In 1997 he wrote a family history with his gay brother Richard, the theatre director, in which he discussed his and his father's cross-dressing. In 2006 Peter and his third wife divorced amicably. After a decade of not cross-dressing, he joined the Tranny Radio Chat Room and started socializing in the cross-dressing community again.

As a woman at age 70, as Pip, she went to live at Lake Macquarie, NSW to be close to friends that she had made in the Tranny Radio Chat Room. Pip completed a book on cross dressing that he had been researching for some years, and continued as a woman until she died two years later. She described this as "my last great achievement". She suffered from prostate cancer, and collapsed at the 2008 Seahorse Ball, dying later in hospital.

Richard Wherrett staged Gordon Chater’s play, The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin, about a transvestite elocution teacher.


  1. I met Pip for the first time in 1996 and went to the seahorse ball with her. We became fast friends through late 1997 as I lived "within handbag throwing distance" of her in Middle Park, just when Desirelines had gone to press but was not yet published. a wonderful person, and I was glad to have been her friend to the end. She graciously lent her name to my fund raising I do for Breast and Prostate Cancer research. Miss you Pip. xxx

  2. Some of these details are incorrect.

    1. Quite possibly, but which?

    2. She didn't die at the seahorse ball, she had a bad turn and went to hospital but was back that night, we drove home the next day, she didn't die until 2009, March the 23rd, at the Mater Hospital Palliative care unit in Newcastle.

      Linda, her late life bestie x

  3. I knew Peter, later Pip, Wherrett very well although our friendship was interspersed with long periods when one or the other of us was out of the country. After I transitioned in 1986 I used to take Peter and his wife Kim sailing and Kim had the distinction of being the only person ever to fall over the side on one of these excursions. Luckily the conditions were gentle and retrieving her was not difficult, nor dangerous.
    After Pip moved to Lake Macquarie my house-mate Julia and I visited her, as I, too, live on the NSW CEntral Coast, only 50k or so south of Lake Macquarie. Peter/Pip was always an interesting raconteur, and good company, and advised me more than once on the purchase of cars.


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