IAN ROWLAND’S MAJOR MILESTONE: 51 YEARS A JUSTICE OF THE PEACE!
Our good friend and Friendly Bay Islander Coochiemudlo correspondent, Ian Rowland, has been recognised for reaching an amazing milestone.
No, it is not for driving his Coochie Mini Moke on the wrong side of the road!
You see, Ian is a Justice of the Peace and is now nearly into his 52nd year on the job.
He recently received a special framed document from the Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, for his services as a JP achieving the 50 year milestone.
It was a very different world in 1970 when Ian Rowland was initially appointed a JP, then living in his home town of Bundaberg.
He was somewhat of a ‘baby’ to the fraternity back then at just 24 years of age. In fact, he is still in the top three youngest ever to be appointed a Justice of the Peace in Queensland!
He explains it this way: “ I had a very responsible job in the welfare sector at the time and I was required to take statements on oath on a daily basis.
“I was an investigator in the welfare area initially living and working in Bundaberg.”
It was a different world in 1970. There were no cordless phones, answering machines, computers, let alone mobile phones or the internet or emails.
It was mostly paperwork and JP’s were busy, unpaid people.
Ian remembers: “But somehow we made it all work and I have serviced thousands of people needing JP services over the years.
“In the main the clients were decent, honest and friendly people who really appreciated the service.”
Justices of the Peace are an important level in the justice system and operate a level under Court Magistrates.
However, from time to time in unusual and emergency situations, JP’s are called upon to ‘fill-in’ for this important role.
“I have ‘sat on the bench’ many times while travelling around the countryside. and the local court was a JP short.”
There have been some funny incidents too.
One particular client proved to be quite troublesome and unhelpful to himself, turning up without the required paperwork on two occasions.
He was asked to go and get it all in order and to provide his mobile phone number to be contacted if there were any problems.
The gentleman replied to Ian: “I don’t hand my phone number out to just anybody!”
Ian Rowland says he first visited Coochiemudlo Island in 1964, and purchased his land in 1982, building his house in 1984. He moved here full time in 2003.
As a Justice of the Peace for more than 50 years, Ian says today he is 10 times busier than he ever was on the mainland.
“There is a lot of JP work on the island and, like all levels of government, the legal system has become more corporatised over the years, but the JP section is still a very efficient and effective system.
“Sometimes it has been intrusive and inconvenient, as well as stressful and demanding.
“But overall, it has been a privilege,” Ian Rowland said.
• Ian Rowland with his entire family along with Cr Lance Hewlett and Kim Richards.