“I will never forget it, I was in Stockton having a quiet ale at the Boatrowers Hotel. The police walked in and they said to me, ‘Your name is John Barlow, and I’m the senior constable.’ And I said, ‘I know, you’ve come to clean this place up.’”
A quiet afternoon at the pub was how Lithgow resident John Barlow OAM began his twenty years of service as a volunteer in policing. A local officer had been injured and the constable heard Mr Barlow could give the station a hand due to his previous experience working with police.
Since graduating from Goulburn Police College in 1996, Mr Barlow has served as a police volunteer in the Waratah, Sutherland and Chifley Local Area Commands, contributing over 8700 hours of his time.
“I had been a clerk attached to the police in the 1950s and have been a Justice of the Peace for over fifty years. I’d worked at the police HQ in Parramatta and the traffic office in Darlinghurst. It just fitted what I already knew,” Mr Barlow said.
Mr Barlow said he mainly performs administrative tasks for the police force. Currently he is checking police information about businesses in the Lithgow region is up to date.
“It’s very good for us [volunteers]. I’ve been asked to do things that people wouldn’t get to do normally,” he said.
“The police are very important in Lithgow and do a very, very active job for the community.
“I’m always satisfied with what I do. I am very well respected by the police here.”
“The police are very important in Lithgow and do a very, very active job for the community.John Barlow OAM
John Barlow OAM is well-known in Lithgow for his community service. In 2016 he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his community involvement and service to the Lithgow Lions Club and Lithgow City RSL Sub-branch.
Mr Barlow began volunteering for the police after he retired. He said there’s little chance of him slowing down soon.
“If I cark it I might give it away,” he said.
“Or if physically or mentally I can no longer do the job.”
Mr Barlow dedicated 25 hours to the Chifley Area Command last month alone. You might have seen him at the police stand at last week’s Portland Family Fun Day.
“I put together all the sample bags for the function. To my shame they weren’t as good as what the fire brigade provided!” he chuckled.