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Catholic Weekly cartoonist Paul Dorin among King’s Birthday honourees

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Captain Paul Dorin. Supplied Fire and Rescue NSW

Long-time The Catholic Weekly cartoonist Paul Dorin has been recognised as one of our state’s heroes, receiving an Australian Fire Service Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours for more than 30 years of service as a senior NSW firefighter.

The captain of the Corrimal Fire Station is regarded as an inspiration to all who know him and has spearheaded two life-saving community initiatives across the state: the Home Care and Disability Fire Safety Program, which permits vulnerable people a free safety visit by local firefighters, and the Smoke Alarm Action Day which encourages residents to install or check their fire alarms each year on 1 June.

The award is “a lovely honour and an absolute privilege to work for an organisation that is so highly regarded in the community”, said the father of two, who was last honoured in March 2023 with a National Emergency Medal for bravery and service during the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020.

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Dorin said the camaraderie of his Corrimal team is a “great motivation” for his work and that his achievements would not be possible without the “phenomenal” support he has received from his zone and area commanders and management over the years.

Known by friends as “Captain Scribbles,” he said his work as a cartoonist is “fantastic outlet” from being on-call as a firefighter seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Apart from The Catholic Weekly, Dorin’s signature light-hearted cartoons appear in around 25 suburban newspapers and The Irish Catholic, and have also graced The Australian Women’s Weekly and now defunct The Bulletin magazine.

“The two jobs balance together really well. I go to Mass every week and pray for the crew’s safety in the week ahead, and there’s no excuse not to go church, as it’s right across the road from the fire station,” he said.

Other Catholic recipients of a King’s Birthday Honour included Brigidine Sister Jane Keogh CSB, who was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the community through social welfare advocacy and to primary education.

A former principal of Our Lady of the Rosary Primary School in Kellyville, Sr Jane is also a well-known refugee advocate.

King’s Birthday honourees - The Catholic Weekly

The sister, who has twice been arrested while participating in protests, began her work when she assisted asylum seekers who were detained in the South Australian Baxter Immigration Reception and Processing Centre from 2002 to 2007.

Sr Jane told the ABC that she remains dedicated to advocacy “because of who we are as a person. I want a better Australia. I want a kind Australia. I want a fair go Australia.”

St John of God Sister Isobel Moran was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to medicine and to the church.

Dominican Sister Helen Merrin was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to special needs education and to the church.

Sister of Mercy Janet Woods was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to secondary education and to the church.

Dr Pauline Morgan received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the church and to education.

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