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150 Years of Service for Local Justices of the Peace

The Bugle App

Veronica Bardsley

08 July 2024, 3:00 AM

150 Years of Service for Local Justices of the PeaceRex Leighton, Gareth Ward, Bruce Cole-Clarke and Andrew Pitt

On July 4, Member for Kiama, Gareth Ward, congratulated three exemplary members of the community for their dedication as Justices of the Peace (JP’s), each spanning five decades.

Bruce Cole-Clarke, Rex Leighton, and Andrew Pitt were recognised for their service and commitment.

Bruce Cole-Clarke, originally sworn in as a JP in Wagga, has spent the last 15 years in retirement in Berry, and has continued to serve predominantly elderly citizens. Reflecting on his tenure, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to assist those in need, particularly within aged care settings. He will retire as a JP this September.

Rex Leighton, now residing in Cambewarra, fondly reminisces about his introduction to the JP role in Wollongong, which has become a humorous anecdote over the years.

“My fondest memory was being sworn in. I was wearing short sleeves, socks and a tie. I remember going to the Wollongong Courthouse and being looked up and down for my clothing...It was quite funny” he shared.

Leighton's career spans more than 50 years and he has witnessed significant changes in the JP's responsibilities. “I worked in aged care for 30 years. 10 to 15 years ago the government tightened up the role of a JP. It was probably a good thing. It lifted the need for the work, and changed things for good.”

Andrew Pitt, who began his JP service in Newcastle before relocating to Wollongong and working at Wollongong High. He since has been a Kiama local for around 40 years, involved with the sporting community in Kiama. He has been a proud Kiama resident for around 40 years. He integrated into Kiama’s sporting community and in November 2023 was recognised with a National Medal for 15 years of long standing service with Kiama SLSC.

Gareth Ward MP commended the trio.

"I'm delighted to recognise Bruce Cole-Clark, Rex Leighton and Andrew Pitt for their commitment and contribution to our community as JPs over the past 50 years - what a wonderful achievement,” Ward said.

“Just think how many witnessed documents and services these three volunteers have serviced over a combined time of 150 years!  


“Anyone can apply to become a JP and I encourage anyone interested in volunteering in the domain to jump online and apply at Justices of the peace | Communities

and Justice (


“What a fantastic milestone. Congratulations again Bruce, Rex and Andrew, and the community thanks you for your service and dedication to our community, ’ Ward concluded.