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Runs in the family - father and daughter JPs

Sunday, 6 August 2023 at 11:04 pm

Tom Dumaresq OAM has been a justice of the peace (JP) for 48 years and has volunteered in many roles in his community both locally and abroad. Now he has influenced his daughter, Jo Backway, to become a JP.

Mrs Backway became a JP in March this year and both she and her father serve as JPs in the Greater Shepparton area.

As a new JP, she feels the experience has been long overdue and enjoys the rewards it offers.

“I was aware there wasn’t many active JPs in this area and had been investigating becoming one for approximately 10 years and there was never the opportunity to, so when I became aware of the chance, I jumped at it,” Mrs Backway said.

“I watched dad being a JP my whole life and volunteering has always been an important thing in our family, so it was easy to follow in dad’s footsteps.

“To me ‘giving back’ is big, what comes around goes around. Being part of a community that supports each other is great.”

Family and community are mutually inclusive for Mrs Backway and Mr Dumaresq, with both having volunteered in a variety of roles.

Mr Dumaresq believes it is important to have all diverse types of people in the JP community.

His JP journey originally began in Kilmore and surrounding district, before moving to the Goulburn Valley in 1977. He has now spent almost half a century signing documents.

“I feel proud of the fact I have helped the community for that long,” Mr Dumaresq added.

“Family is always important, and they make up part of our community. I have four children and I’m happily married. I also have seven grandkids that provide me with much entertainment. Jo watched me perform my duties from afar for many years and felt the community needed more JP volunteers.”

Mrs Backway loves spending time with her family. At home, she creates scrap metal art along with the help of her husband Robert. Netball umpiring is another passion that fills up her life.

“I have volunteered for many different things throughout my life, from kindergarten & school committees, the Girl Guides and St. Vinnies,” she added.

“These all come and go depending on what and where I am. I am currently heavily involved in my local sporting club and the League that it is part of.

Mr Dumaresq has also volunteered in different roles both in Australia and overseas. He was a CFA member for 66 years and the founding member of the Assisi Aid Projects.

“Living in a high fire danger rural area, motivated me to follow in my father’s footsteps and join the CFA when I was 17,” he said.

“I joined Assisi Aid over 35 years ago, as I saw a need to support people in disadvantaged countries. I had the opportunity to collaborate directly with a nun that was on the ground in India and could ensure the funds were distributed directly to the people in need.

“I have travelled to India eight times and have seen the changes and improvements to people and villages' lives. Projects have also been conducted in Cambodia, Timor-Leste, and Nepal, and this is also success showing.”

Both Mrs Backway and Mr Dumaresq intend to continue supporting their communities through their volunteer roles.

Mrs Backway added: “I love collaborating with different people in different areas, you never stop learning and this is something I enjoy.”