Alf acknowledged for “phenomenal” service


Alf Carpenter was forced to dive into the South Pacific to evade a Japanese attack on his flotilla in World War II.

Survival was his only thought.

However, as he swam in the narrow Buka Passage, which lies east of present-day Papua New Guinea, a fellow digger struck up a conversation.

“We got shot up waiting to be picked up,” Mr Carpenter told Newcastle Weekly.

“He turned to me and said: ‘If we get over this, we’ll go into business together.’”

When the war ended, that same digger, who was a retail worker from Wallsend, sent a telegram to Mr Carpenter, encouraging him to move up from Wagga Wagga and set up a general store in Warners Bay.

The two men went on to operate the business together for years.

During this time, Mr Carpenter noticed a need for a Justice of the Peace (JP) and, in 1968, he was officially appointed.

“A lot of people would come into the store and want someone to witness them signing their papers for the pension and whatnot,” he said.

“So that’s how I became a JP.”

Mr Carpenter has now been acknowledged for 50 years’ service as a JP during a function at Parliament House, Sydney, this month.

The 102-year-old was joined by more than 100 fellow JPs, as well as Newcastle state MP Tim Crakanthorp.

Mr Crakanthorp said it was an honour to attend the function.

He congratulated Mr Carpenter for his “phenomenal record of service” for Newcastle and Australia.

“He came back from the war and kept giving, and to think that Alf was in his ‘50s when he became a Justice of the Peace and has managed to notch up 50 years of service is absolutely incredible,” Mr Crakanthorp said.

“I can’t even imagine just how many people he has helped over the years, but his contribution to our city is so valued.”

During World War II, Mr Carpenter fought in Europe and the Middle East, before being stationed in the Pacific towards the end of the war.

He was honoured by the Greek government in 2015 for his role in the Battle of Crete, in which Nazi Germany launched an airborne invasion in May 1941.

Mr Carpenter is also a former zone supervisor for Surf Life Saving and a life member of the Merewether Mackerels winter swimming club.

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