Yalgoo Justice of the Peace honoured by State

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WA Governor Kim Beazley presents a Volunteer Service Award to Ellen Rowe for her long-running service as a Justice of the Peace in Yalgoo.
Camera IconWA Governor Kim Beazley presents a Volunteer Service Award to Ellen Rowe for her long-running service as a Justice of the Peace in Yalgoo. Credit: Supplied

A woman who lost her husband in a tragic Christmas Day incident in Geraldton in 2007 has been recognised for her work as a Justice of the Peace.

Ellen Rowe’s husband William died after being bashed on the head with a cricket bat at a Geraldton beach.

His killer, Mathew Roy McDonald, spent five years in jail after he was convicted of manslaughter, and died last year in a car crash in Perth.

Since her husband’s death, Mrs Rowe has campaigned for victims of crime. She is also an advocate for the future of the agricultural industry.

To describe her as a pillar of the community would be an understatement.

As many in rural communities are, the 57-year-old Yalgoo resident is heavily involved in town life, volunteering in various roles.

For the past 30 years she served as a Justice of the Peace at the Yalgoo Court of Petty Sessions.

“I enjoy the interaction as a volunteer and it is great to give back and make a difference,” Mrs Rowe said. “Every day is different.”

Mrs Rowe recalled a memorable case when an accused man appeared in court and announced he had given up drinking.

“I believe he has gone on to become a well-respected family man,” she said.

Another highlight was “the look of relief and appreciation” from a young mother desperately seeking a witness to the signing of documents.

“I randomly offered to assist after noticing her, with three young children in tow, frantically going from business to business in a busy city shopping centre, searching for an available registered person,” Mrs Rowe said.

In December, Mrs Rowe was presented a WA Volunteer Service Award for her dedication.

She was among volunteers from across the State who received the honour from WA Governor Kim Beazley at Government House.

Justice of the Peace is just one of Mrs Rowe’s many volunteer roles, which include Yalgoo Primary School, Meekatharra School of the Air, Yalgoo Sport Club, Yalgoo Museum Committee, and the Yalgoo Land Conservation District Committee.

The mother of five and grandmother of 13 moved to Yalgoo in 1984 with her late husband.

They bought a pastoral property which she still runs.

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