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Peter Ross Muldoon (1952–2009)

by Malcolm Brown

When police form a guard of honour at the funeral of a civilian, it normally means there is something special about that person. So it was with Peter Muldoon, who lived his life in rural NSW and embraced the communities where he worked and played. In his own way, through his work as a coroner and court registrar, he helped keep those communities on a straight course. He did have daily contact with police, but police are hard judges, and Muldoon obviously passed muster.

Peter Ross Muldoon was born at Kempsey on June 22, 1952, the second of three sons born to Bert and Jean Muldoon. The Muldoons were of strong Irish Catholic stock, who were pioneer settlers in the Grafton-Lismore-Kempsey region. The clan produced, among others, a fine churchman, Bishop Thomas Muldoon. Young Peter had a happy childhood, was not above a little mischief, and on hot days was known to skip school to swim in the Macleay River. At school he was a footballer and runner, and took easily to the guitar, which he played in several bands.

Muldoon started work in 1971 as a clerk at Kempsey Magistrate's Court, then worked in court administration at Newcastle, Port Macquarie and Penrith. He met his wife-to-be, Anne-Maree Burke, on a blind date and married her in Tamworth in March 1977. The couple moved to Gilgandra where their first son, Trent, was born in 1980. They moved to Taree, then to Kempsey, where a second son, David, was born. Muldoon was transferred again, to Coffs Harbour, where they had a daughter, Bridget. He had transfers again to Narrabri, Casino in 1991, and in 2000 to what became his final posting, Tweed Heads. Muldoon's work in the courts was noted for the way he carried it out, with an ''easy-going calmness''. But he was strongly supportive of his staff. Father James Griffin, who was a friend of his family, said Muldoon had lived a ''masterpiece'' of a life with unquestionable integrity. ''I have never met anyone in the law whose people skills were so adept,'' he said. ''I can say that after 20 years as a police chaplain. He had a fantastic sense of humour. He was a great settler of people.''

Detective Sergeant Frank Natoli of Tweed/Byron Command said Muldoon had done his business in a polite, professional and tactful manner. Muldoon set up court outreach services at Tweed Heads and attended to issues of cross-border administration of justice, working with the Coolangatta Magistrates Court.

Throughout his married life, Muldoon was dedicated to family and he was a sportsman. He played golf and competed in the Holden Scramble golf tournament. David Muldoon said his father never did anything by halves and his leisure hours represented an ''endless pursuit to find something to do''. Muldoon was a talented golfer and general sportsman who contributed to community work and took up hobbies. ''He insisted on cracking his stockman's whip from the balcony of the house to the embarrassment of us and amusement of his neighbours,'' he said.

After being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2005, Muldoon and his wife decided on a world tour, cruising in Hawaii and visiting Europe and North America. He battled through the last years and continued working until September. He clung to his Christian faith right to the time of his death.

Peter Muldoon is survived by Anne-Maree, his three children and an extended family.

Original publication

Citation details

Malcolm Brown, 'Muldoon, Peter Ross (1952–2009)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


22 June, 1952
Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia


December, 2009 (aged 57)
New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (bowel)

Cultural Heritage

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Religious Influence

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