BRETT Paulson always wanted to join the police force.
"Even when he was a kid, that's what he wanted to do,'' Brett's mum, Pam from Taree explained.
"When he was at Chatham High he went to a careers camp at Valla Park and the police were there. I think that's where he got his inspiration from.''
Not long after leaving Chatham High School, Brett and his elder brother, Craig, with other Indigenous youths, completed a Central Servicing Course as a precursor to Brett joining the force, while Craig went into the judicial system. Last month Brett, now 51 and working with the Mudgee PCYC, chalked up his 30th anniversary with the NSW Police Force.
"It was pretty unusual for an Aboriginal kid to want to join the police. Mal Cochrane is the only other one from around here that I know of,'' Pam said. Mal, a former Manly Warringah rugby league star, was born in Taree.
Brett worked as security at the old Taree RSL Club when it was situated on the riverbank before joining the force and heading to the Police Academy at Goulburn, where he trained and graduated.
Life in the force saw him transferred to North Sydney, Manly, Casino, Lismore, Walcha and Tamworth before he took a job within the PCYC system, where he now works in Mudgee.
"He loves it,'' Pam smiled.
"He really enjoys working with kids and he hopes he's making a difference.''
Craig's professional life took a slightly different turn. He worked at Stebercraft and Earl's Turf in Taree after leaving Chatham High but he eventually opted to move into the judiciary system.
"He saw a job advertised, applied and was successful,'' Pam said.
Craig was initially employed as a court support officer while he helped establish a support service system for young offenders in the Walgett area. He was eventually appointed a sheriff, working with the Newcastle Children's' Court.
Pam described Craig, now 53, as a 'people's person' and like his younger brother, he wanted to assist the community, particularly the indigenous community.
For a while they were working in the Northern Rivers region at the same time.
"People kept getting them mixed up,'' Pam smiled.
"And Brett would bring kids into court and Craig would have to deal with them.''
Craig has since left the judiciary but still lives in Newcastle. He's returned to his first love - Aboriginal art.
"He taught art at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, back in the days when it was in Wynter Street,'' Pam recalled.
Her Taree house is decorated with Indigenous art works, some her own creations, others the handiwork of her sons.
Now employed in the printing trade, Craig assists the Koori community by producing uniforms and clothing decorated with Indigenous designs.
"He's done the shorts for the South Taree football team, the shirts for the Elders Olympics and shorts and uniforms for the Galambila Medical Centre at Coffs Harbour,'' Pam said.
She's a proud mum.
"I certainly am,'' Pam beamed.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: