Three St John WA country ambulance members awarded Ambulance Service Medals in Australia Day honours

Press Release

Medals in Australia Day honours

Three country ambulance members of St John WA have been named as part of the Australia Day honours as recipients of an Ambulance Service Medal (ASM).

Karratha Station Manager Sarel De Koker, Brookton Volunteer Ambulance Officer Cliff Fishlock and Broome paramedic Jacqueline Mackay have been awarded the ASM.

St John WA Chief Executive Officer Michelle Fyfe said the newly-named recipients joined more than 60 St John WA personnel who had received the medal since it was founded in 1999.

“The dedication of the St John workforce to the communities in which we live and work is central to how we serve the Western Australian community, particularly in the regions,” Mrs Fyfe said.

“My heartfelt congratulations go out to the three new recipients, and I thank them for their dedication to St John and delivering ambulance services to our community.”

“I’m particularly pleased these recognitions come in the same year our organisation will celebrate 130 years since our inaugural delivery of first aid training in WA, and a century of delivering ambulance service.”

Sarel De Koker


Sarel joined St John WA in 2009, having been an accomplished and experienced paramedic in South Africa. Within two years, he was providing outstanding service as the Community Paramedic in the remote town of Kununurra. He was instrumental in the heroic and well-publicised rescue of a group of athletes, trapped by a large bushfire in the Kimberley region.

In 2013 he was promoted to Station Manager of the Kununurra Sub Centre, before transferring to the Karratha Sub Centre in 2018.

Mr De Koker has excelled in delivering paramedic services to patients in regional and very remote environments. Widely regarded by medical professionals and community members alike, he is a very competent paramedic who is always striving to give the best treatment and care to his patients.

Sarel has demonstrated excellence in clinical leadership, particularly among the volunteers at his sub centre by ensuring all volunteers attain strong clinical understanding through encouragement and leading by example, so that the level of care they provide is among the best in the state.

Delivering more than just clinical leadership, the support and development Sarel has provided has resulted in a boost to volunteer recruitment, retention and availability of clinical volunteers to serve the community. His attributes, skills and expertise translate into the ideal regional paramedic. There is no better description of above and beyond, than when he volunteers his time outside of his normal working hours to continue to deliver paramedic services to the community and provide guidance to volunteers at the station.

Sarel’s dedication to St John Ambulance WA and demonstrated excellence in clinical leadership is of the highest order.

Cliff Fishlock (pictured)


Cliff has been with St John WA for 40 years and has held many positions at the Brookton Sub Centre. Averaging about 100 on-road operational hours per year as an on-road Volunteer Ambulance Officer, he embraces all operations with dedication and commitment, often attending hazardous jobs that can be so prevalent in rural areas.

Cliff is dedicated to training within his sub-centre, attending seminars, and following up with Brookton volunteers on their training, wellbeing, and operational needs. As the current sub centre chairperson, he takes his role very seriously. He embraces the concept of the ‘integrated model’ of pre-hospital health care and works to build maximum community capacity and resilience.

Cliff has always embraced change within the ambulance service and over recent years he has supported several initiatives, including the Community Paramedic Initiative, electronic record keeping, corporate restructures, networking meetings, embracing new clinical skills and equipment, and modular training curriculum. 

He is often instrumental in helping to develop changes to best serve his community and fellow volunteers. An example is his involvement in trialling and developing online record systems for modular training. Similarly, he attends and often facilitates regional meetings with fellow Chairpersons and VDO’s (trainers) to support a healthy exchange of ideas, strategies and resources.

Cliff is well respected throughout the Wheatbelt region, within the organisation and with external stakeholders. The Brookton and Wheatbelt communities have publicly acknowledged his dedication to service delivery over the years in first aid training and delivery, first responder training, stakeholder engagement and the enormous experience he has acquired over such a distinguished ambulance career.

His dedication and sustained commitment for over 40 years to advancing the quality of health care in regional Western Australia is exemplary.

Jacqui MacKay


Jacqui joined St John WA in 1994 and moved to Broome in 2012. As an accomplished frontline officer, she has made a significant contribution as a paramedic and her clinical skills are of the highest standard.

Jacqui has become the ‘go to’ paramedic, for training and mentoring by both volunteers and staff. She advocates for volunteers at the sub centre and ensures the volunteer education is of a high standard. She spends many hours ensuring all volunteer ambulance officers are well inducted.  She shows exemplary dedication and commitment to training and has proven support for the integrated paramedic/volunteer model. St John WA receives many compliments from volunteers regarding Jacqui’s attitude towards them and her willingness to assist and provide additional training. She has mentored numerous volunteers and her approach has led to a number of those volunteers transitioning to student paramedics. 

Jacqui is passionate about promoting St John in her community and she has been a driving force behind several initiatives to promote the service in Broome. One initiative saw the Glambulance (a specially marked ambulance promoting and supporting the LBGTQI community) visiting Broome for the Mardi Gras festival. As a highlight of the festival, images of the Glambulance in Broome were used across the organisation.

Her dedication to volunteer development has seen outstanding growth in volunteering and volunteer/ paramedic partnerships. She regularly assists with volunteer recruitment campaigns and uses her personal contacts to promote the organisation through media and the community.

Jacqui is the epitome of what it means to be a paramedic for St John WA and is a deserving recipient of the Ambulance Service Medal.

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