‘Absolutely brilliant life’ hits peak with Australia Day honours award

Embleton resident Colin Philippson has been awarded an OAM for his contribution to the community and to motor racing. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.
Embleton resident Colin Philippson has been awarded an OAM for his contribution to the community and to motor racing. Picture: Andrew Ritchie.

FROM volunteering at police lock-ups and Claremont Speedway to a career as both an Australian Royal Navy medical officer and a Justice of the Peace, Embleton’s Colin Philippson says he has had an “absolutely brilliant life.”

The 82-year-old great-grandfather was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the community and motor racing, part of the Australia Day 2017 Honours.

Mr Philippson’s first experience with speedway was when his father took him, aged 12, to Claremont Speedway for its first post-war meeting.

He was hooked from there and in 1954 bought his first speedway bike – a 1927 AJS by Johnny Chamberlain – and tried his hand at solo racing.

Mr Philippson was the inaugural president and founding member of the Perth T Q Car Club

He said a highlight was helping run a medical centre at Wanneroo Raceway in the late 1970s.

“Coming from a nursing background, it was a big help up there – we started our own ambulance service, that was very rewarding,” he said.

He was a WA Speedway Commission committee member, motor sport writer for West Australian in the 1970s and WA Sporting Car Club life member.

Mr Philippson worked as a health officer for the Royal Australian Navy for 20 years, serving in the Vietnam War and at Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, before he became a Justice of the Peace.

He volunteered at police stations and lock-ups at Warwick, Mirrabooka and Morley and was a member of the bench at the Violence Restraining Order Court in Joondalup for six years.

“I found it soul-destroying when I was asked to sit in the Violence Restraining Order Court, having had a happy marriage and good family life,” he said.

Mr Philippson said helping new JPs and people at signing centres were highlights of his time as a JP.

“Helping elderly people at the signing centres with probate matters… when an older lady comes in and bursts into tears… you sit down with them and guide them,” he said.

Mr Philippson was a Royal Association of Justices of WA Stirling Branch life member, volunteer assistant at WA Children’s Court and was an associate to Christine Wheeler, the first female Justice of the Supreme Court of WA.

“I got selected by the acting chief justice to go to America and Germany on his behalf with the Mickelberg evidence,” he said.

“I’ve had an absolutely brilliant life.”

Mr Philippson paid tribute to his wife Margaret.