Legendary volunteer honoured for 70 years in Queensland JP ranks

Barbara Lynch

A beloved 96-year-old volunteer who has dedicated her life to helping others was honoured this week for 70 years’ service as a Queensland Justice of the Peace.

Hervey Bay’s Barbara Lynch has won numerous volunteering awards in her life, but this is a very special recognition as she becomes only the fourth person to receive the honour from the Queensland Government.

“Seventy years of service to the community is a major milestone and not one that happens to everyone – only four have received this honour so she is in a very exclusive club,” said Brendon Balogh, Team Leader for the JPs In The Community Program.

Mr Balogh said the program was developed 20 years ago to give the public consistent and easy access to witnessing services throughout Queensland.

Earlier in the state, the role was the responsibility of travelling judges.  But that evolved to allow community members to perform the task of witnessing important documentation.  The first JPs were given powers in the 1300s under English law, making Mrs Lynch part of a tradition stretching back over 700 years.

“I have enjoyed every day of my role as a JP, meeting people at every stage of their lives as well,” said Mrs Lynch, who founded the Queensland Justices Association Branch in Hervey Bay in 1998.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but the real reward for me has been able to serve the people of Queensland, especially my local community in Hervey Bay.  It is a tight-knit community that I have enjoyed living in and volunteering in for most of my life.”

Mrs Lynch’s journey into volunteering started as a 17-year-old at Hervey Bay Court House.  In that role, she worked alongside police as an independent witness when juveniles were taken into custody.

Along with Queensland Police and St Stephen’s Hospital, she has assisted community organisations, including Save the Fraser Island Dingo and the Disabled Opportunity Shop in Hervey Bay.

Mrs Lynch remains a cherished volunteer at our Hervey Bay Aged Care Facility, where she has overseen the library for many years.  She recently moved into the facility as a resident, joining many of her friends who she met throughout her volunteering journey.

Ozcare is pleased to be able to share in Mrs Lynch’s celebrations and to see her many years of service publicly honoured in this way.  70 years’ really is something to be proud of and we offer our warmest congratulations on her achievement.