STARTING as a cadet journalist on a three-month trial in 1968 was Parkes Champion Post's managing editor, Roel Ten Cate's introduction to a world he loves with a passion.
Today that passion for community and community journalism is being recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
"I was absolutely floored when they contacted me about the award," Mr Ten Cate said.
Born in Holland but raised at Tullamore and Parkes, Mr Ten Cate left school in year 10 with the aim of getting a job. He was offered a job at the Champion Post by then managing editor Ian Giles.
"In those days a journalist as a profession was regarded on the same level as a dentist, doctor or veterinarian," he said.
"I took the job for the money. Writing was my worst subject at school, I hated it."
However under the watchful eye of the editor, Ron Tindall, and countless instructions to re-write his typewritten copy, the three-month trial grew into 10 years on the job.
In 1978 Mr Ten Cate was asked to take over the managing editorship of the Advocate in nearby Forbes - a position that lasted five years.
"Then they asked me to come back as managing editor in Parkes and, as all of my family were still here, it was an easy move," he said.
"That was in January 1984 and I've been here ever since."
He retired from that position five years ago and then started putting in a couple of days a week.
"They then asked me to comeback full-time and I will probably be here another three to four years as the technology changes," he said.
"But I will say I feel extremely privileged to be the longest serving editor of the Champion Post.
"I love the community of Parkes but I really love my job."
Mr Ten Cate was an inaugural member of the Parkes Elvis festival since 1993, a founding member of the Parkes Multicultural Society, a supporter of the Parkes Chamber of Commerce and a former board member of the Southern Cross Retirement Village.
MORE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY HONOURS: