A tribute to Paul Cullen

The oldest member of our Association, and a person who has had a distinguished life, sadly died on Wednesday, 19 September 2007.


Major General Paul CullenPaul Cullen was born in Newcastle in 1909 and was educated at Cranbrook School from 1920 to 1926. Paul’s father the late Sir Samuel Sydney Cohen (1869-1948) was knighted in the Coronation Honours of 1937. Sir Samuel had a daughter, and two sons both of whom had distinguished war careers but known by the name of Cullen. 

His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery, Government-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, recently singled out Paul in a speech noting that Major General Paul Cullen was of “World War II fame”.

Indeed Paul is a highly decorated World War II veteran having received a Distinguished Service Order after the Kokoda campaign and a Bar to Distinguished Service Order awarded after the Wewak Campaign; and later an E.D. after service. Paul is also well known for having established the Citizen Military Forces Association (now known as the Army Reserve Association) of which he was the Foundation President. Paul also established the Royal New South Wales Regiment and was the first Regimental Colonel.

Paul Cullen was the motivating force behind the foundation of Austcare in 1967, with the Paul Cullen Humanitarian Awards for New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory honouring the outstanding contributions that Australians have made to advance the interests and well being of refugees overseas. Indeed, Paul was awarded the prestigious Nansen Medal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1981, an international honour for those who have made outstanding contributions to the refugee cause; the only Nansen Medal recipient in Australia. 

Every year in June the World Refugee Day is celebrated. As Australians, we can be proud that this United Nations day was in fact started as an Australian initiative. Indeed, it was the brainchild of Major General Paul Cullen.

Paul was awarded a C.B.E in January 1965, and A.O. in June 1978, and the highest Order in Australia, an A.C., was awarded to Paul in January 1998.

There are so many awards and honours that Paul has amassed that we simply could not do them all justice. But perhaps we should mention he was awarded the 2004 Marulan Citizen of the Year!

On the family side Paul has a son and daughter, eight grandchildren, sixteen great grandchildren. Paul married his sweetheart (the then Eve Daly) on 23 December 1973, and soon thereafter became involved in Galloway cattle near Bega NSW.

Paul and Eve lived on their property at Marulan for around 27 years; the oldest homestead in Australia outside the metropolitan area. The ‘Hawkshead Galloway Stud’ established a well-known track-record for success in the show-ring and in carcase competitions. Paul lost Eve in December 2006.

He was a fighter ‘til the end; and Paul, we salute you.