Stanley Baker is a fixture of the Creswick community, a man who has never really retired.
At 91, he has only now slowed his dedication to service. Mr Baker has terminal cancer.
Mr Baker’s Justice of the Peace (JP) stamp sits in his room at John Curtin Aged Care just in case his signature is ever required.
Mr Baker has served the community as a JP since 1981, when he was first appointed to act as an independent and objective witness to legal and official documents.
He received a certificate recognising his 36 years working for the Victorian community as a JP from Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula, and an award from Ripon MP Louise Staley in August.
After moving to Creswick with his wife Roma in 1989, Mr Baker continued working until 81, enjoying his role acting as a special referee for the Supreme Court of Victoria.
It was grandchildren in Ballarat that brought the city dwellers to Creswick.
The recent recognition shows how much the community appreciates Mr Baker’s service to the town. He has volunteered his time as a JP at the local police station to reduce the workload that official documents take in police time.
“I took the work that I had to do as a justice very seriously, and I think it should be taken seriously. It is not a lighthearted job that you can say ‘I will go in and knock off a few signatures here and there’ and you think you have done a good job,” he says.
Mr Baker’s son Graeme says before he became sick two months ago, his father never really retired.
“On Tuesdays he was at the police station from 9am until 2pm doing justice of the peace work going through hundreds of documents every day,” his son says.
“Then he was at the hospital doing chaplaincy work all day and he took church services at John Curtin on Fridays.
“The only thing that has stopped him in his tracks is this bout of cancer. The only reason he has stopped is because of the mobility he has lost in his legs.”
Mr Baker’s son describes a recurring scene he remembers from weekend visits to his father and his late wife in Creswick.
“Stan would be in his office writing and he would bring each page out to Roma, and Roma would be on the typewriter or the computer writing them up,” he says.
“They’d get mailed down to the Supreme Court and his findings would be tabled. They were doing that until they were 82.”
“I thought I would retire ... and I didn’t retire,” says Mr Baker.
“Oh I’ve done things. I have jumped out of aeroplanes, climbed to base camp of Mt Everest at 50.”