Northern NSW Federation of Justices of the Peace Inc.

History of The Northern NSW Federation of Justices of the Peace Inc

Celebrating 73 years of service to the people of NSW in 2021

Early in 1947, Mr Charles K Thompson, a sub editor of the evening newspaper 'The Newcastle Sun' joined the Sydney based NSW Justices and Honorary Magistrates Association Ltd. In June that same year he saw the need to form a branch for Justices of the Peace in the Newcastle area.

On 29 July 1947 an article had been placed in the 'Sun' asking any interested Justices of the Peace to attended the proposed meeting. By the middle of August about 90 people had responded to local advertisements and a meeting was held on 3 September 1947 in the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce rooms with 50 people in attendance. It was resolved that a branch would be formed to cover the Greater Newcastle, Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens, Lower Hunter, Bolwarra and Kearsley areas.

After a few short months it was obvious that the Sydney based group would not support the branch in Newcastle, either financially or practically. Therefore, it was decided at the December meeting, that the Newcastle members would disassociate themselves from the Sydney based group 'en masse' and form their own association.

Over the Christmas break a group of members worked hard at formulating the appropriate rules and constitution, suggestions for a badge and new name for the association.

On January 14, 1948 The Northern NSW Federation of Justices of the Peace was formed with 91 members. Mr Charles K Thompson was elected President and remained in that position until his death in 1980.

During the years the Federation has been in existence, other branches have formed. The current branches are:

  • Newcastle (Inaugural Headquarters Branch 1948 and reformed as an independent branch in February 1997)
  • Maitland (originally formed in October 1948 and reformed January 1961)
  • Kurri Kurri Cessnock (originally formed in March 1948 and reformed in January 1965)
  • Westlakes (originally Toronto Branch formed in 1948 and reformed as Westlakes in July 1987)
  • Port Stephens (formed in February 1978)
  • Tamworth (formed in 1981)
  • Gloucester (formed in November 2000)
  • Singleton (formed in February 2002)
  • Muswellbrook and Districts (formed in July 2004)
  • South-East Lakes [South-Eastern Lake Macquarie] (formed in March 2005)
  • Doyalson Districts (formed in November 2005)
  • Raymond Terrace Branch (formed in November 2006)

A Country Connection unit has also been established to cater for the needs of Justices outside these areas and for foundling branches.

The branches have complete autonomy to conduct their own affairs, within the scope of the Constitution, maintaining contact through the Federation Council, which is the governing body of the Federation.

The Northern NSW Federation of Justices of the Peace become incorporated in 1997 and is a non-profit organisation. Due to the work and dedication of the Federation Council, the administrative body of the Federation, the financial situation of the Federation has remained sound.

Our main aim is to educate Justices of the Peace, to enable them to become more proficient in their duties. The branches meet once a month, on various nights of the week, from February until December, with Guest Speakers on occasions and mini tutorial sessions.

The Federation also has prepared 'hands-on' exercises and 'Tutorial' packages for its members to use as individuals or as a group at meetings. These include information or knowledge based units on aspects of the law, i.e. history, the law today, compliance with the law; Statutory Declaration, Affidavits and Annexures; as well as 'Discussion Papers' on the role of the JP, ethics, etc.

Members of the Federation also work alongside members of the Australian JP Association to create educational packages on divorce papers, passports and other documents that justices of the peace may encounter. These educational packages also assist our members when they are dealing with members of the community at our signing desks throughout the Northern NSW area.

Our members are kept up to date with changes to the laws and our role as justices, community and branch events of interest and personal news through our regular newsletter the "Justices Bulletin".

Federation Presidents:

  • Mr Charles Kenneth Thompson BEM JP 1947 - 1980 (Deceased) Newcastle Branch
  • Dr Joan Redshaw MB BSc (Hons) DCH JP 1980 - 1985 (Deceased) Newcastle Branch
  • Mr Allan William Thomas Williams JP1986 - 1988 (Deceased) Newcastle Branch
  • Mr Neville John Wratten JP 1989 - 1993 (Deceased) Newcastle Branch
  • Mr George Valentine Smith OAM JP 1994 - 1995 (Deceased) Kurri Cessnock Branch
  • Mrs Christine Joy Cordingley JP 1996 - 1998 (Life Member) Westlakes Branch
  • Mr Ronald G Hartmann JP 1999 - 2011 (Life Member) Tamworth Branch
  • Mr Keith (Kenneth) Lysaght JP 2012 - 2015 (Life Member) Tamworth Branch
  • Robert Winter JP 2015 - 2018 (Deceased) Singleton Branch
  • Darren Foster JP 2019 - present time Maitland Branch