Coffs Coast JPs celebrated for 50-plus years’ of service

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh with long-serving JPs Kevin Jordan, Philip Pearce, Paul Owen and John Murtas. Garry Dew was unable to attend the gathering.

FIVE seasoned Coffs Coast Justices of the Peace (JPs) have been recognised for achieving 50 or more years of continual service as a NSW Justice of the Peace.

Celebrating their commitment at a gathering on Friday 31 May at his electorate office, Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said this golden jubilee of service is a magnificent milestone for Philip Pearce, Kevin Jordan, Paul Owen, John Murtas and Garry Dew.

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“The office of a JP is steeped in a long and prestigious tradition of service,” Mr Singh said.

“Much has changed in only 50 years and these local residents have witnessed important developments over this time.

“They’ve also been there for people at pivotal points in their lives such as buying and selling property, applying for a passport or accessing superannuation.

“I extend my sincere gratitude to them for the countless hours of hard work they’ve invested in helping others and supporting the efficient operation of our legal system.”

Safety Beach resident Phil Peace has been a JP since 1971, beginning in Sydney.

He continued the role when he moved with his wife to the Coffs Coast.

“Like a lot of people, it’s one way of giving back to the community who has been so good to me,” he said.

“I have always been treated very well, even on the times I’ve been unable to service people’s requests, such as them presenting me with paperwork that has already been signed by their husband or wife; we’re not allowed to accept signatures not witnessed by ourselves.”

Phil is an ‘on call’ JP, rather than manning a service desk in a shopping mall.

He’s been on the board of the Woolgoolga Neighbourhood Centre, where he has processed numerous pages of immigration paperwork, and the Woolgoolga Retirement Village, fulfilling the JP role on innumerable forms.

Receiving his recognition certificate from Mr Singh, he said, “It was lovely meeting other people doing the same thing as me for so many years; we didn’t know each other before today.”

Phil emigrated to Australia in 1967 from the Midlands in England.

“Like many others I came here for a better life, and it took me half an hour of landing in Sydney to decide to stay,” he said.

For more information about the work of Justices of the Peace, go to


Celebrating the Coffs Coast’s long-serving JPs with family and friends

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