Mr Joseph de Souza JP FRVAHJ
Appointed JP: 1977
RVAHJ: Springvale DSS
Although born in Burma with an ancestry of Spanish-Portuguese,English, French and Indian, I was classed as an Anglo –Indian and began my career as a Marine Engineer Officer in the British Merchant Navy, serving on oil tankers for a period of four years during which time I still found time to re-connect with and marry my childhood sweetheart (We were 14 years old at the time and married 10 years later). Twins boys appeared within a year so I became a land-lubber and Engineer in a Dockyard in Calcutta, West Bengal.Once India gained Independence it became apparent that my children would not get the same opportunities of holding the top jobs due to the fact that they were neither Indian nor British and as soon as Australia opened it’s doors to migrants like myself I applied for and was granted entry.
Australia gave my family and myself a country to belong to and welcomed us with open arms. It was then that I decided that I would do my utmost to repay Australia and Australians for having adopted us as one of themselves and granting us Citizenship.
My Community Service began with being a Badminton Instructor at the Springvale Youth Club, followed by Committee Member, Secretary, President and then Life Membership. My active involvement of 12 years ceased when a change of employment called for shift work. During this period I also became a Life Member of the Vitcorian Institute of Youth Clubs
My next involvement with Community affairs began around 1974 when our son born with Down Syndrome started at the Noble Park Centre for the Mentally Handicapped as it was then known . I was a member of the Parents and Friends Committee and when he joined the Adult Activity Unit I was Secretary of the Committee of Management for 12 years and was awarded a Life Governorship. I retracted acceptance of this honour several years later but that is another story.
During my tenure with the Management Committee, I served under Mr. Robert Luxford (R.I.P.) President of the Committee and Mayor of Springvale on several occasions. It was on his recommendation and a nomination by Mr. Norm Billing State Member of Parliament and Mr Peter Collins M.L.A. that my name was put up to become a Justice of the Peace. Being a representative of Her Majesty the Queen was one of the proudest moments of my life.
For the past 43 years I have dedicated myself to fulfilling the office to the best of my ability and I state with pride that I believe I have more than fulfilled my commitment to my duties and myself, when I decided I would do my utmost to put back into, and repay the country that gave me a home and a country of which I can be justifiably proud .
In my 43 years of service I have served as a DSS Co-ordinator for more than 10 years and have received Certificates from:
- City of Greater Dandenong for services to the city and its residents
- Vic Police Divisional Commendation Southern Metro Division 3 – JP Program assisting Police and Community at Springvale and Dandenong Police Stations
- Vic Police Greater Dandenong Police Service Area – Certificate of Appreciation for support of Police and Community through services via the J.P. Roster
- Vic Police Greater Dandenong Police Service Area – for support to community and Police through 40 years of service as a Justice of the Peace
- Vic Police – Certificate of appreciation and recognition of support to police and staff at the Springvale Police Station
- RVAHJ – Certificate of appreciation in recognition of outstanding support of DSS and the Association
- Honorary Justice Office Certificate of Appreciation and specific thanks for “above and beyond” contributions in the role of Document Signing Station Co-ordinator.
- RVAHJ Certificates for 25, 30, 35 , and 40 years service
Apart from life as a J.P. I am an active participant in the Catholic Community at Resurrection Parish Keysborough, a regular member of the choir at the Sunday morning service.
Even at the age of 90 ½ years I am confident that I still have a few good years to enjoy my role as a Justice of the Peace and I will do my damndest to get my 50 year service certificate.
One can always hope and strive to fulfill his dreams with help from above.