Recently the community of Kingsford Smith lost a true hero and local legend in Dan Cullen. Born in Bunbury, Western Australia, in 1914, Dan showed early talent as a golfer and would go on to win the Western Australian Open in 1937 and 1938.
In 1941, Dan put his golfing career on hold to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force and served three years as a Lancaster bomber pilot in Europe. In April 1944, a shell struck his plane over Friedrichshafen, injuring members of his crew and crippling his aircraft. But thanks to his bravery and skill Dan ensured a safe return, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross medal. All up, Dan flew 32 operational flights over Europe.
Upon returning home, Dan was appointed club professional at Roseville Golf Club before moving to St Michael's Golf Club at Little Bay in our community. In 1977, at the age of 64, he became the oldest qualifier at the British Open and went on to teach the game of golf to thousands at Cullen's Driving Range, next to St Michael's Golf Club, which he operated from the late 1960s. The Cullen name is synonymous with golf in our community.
In July last year, at 100 years of age, Dan received the Legion d'Honneur medal, the highest decoration in France, for his wartime service. Dan Cullen passed away on Australia Day aged 101. On behalf of our community, I thank Dan for his service to our community and our nation and I offer my condolences to his family and friends.