Born in Jamberoo, New South Wales around 1849, Joseph Cullen was the son of farmer John Cullen and Rebecca Clinton. One of his brothers, William Cullen, would become Chief Justice of New South Wales. Joseph Cullen was educated at state schools before attending Camden College in Sydney. On 18 April 1878 he married Annie Butler, with whom he would have one son and two daughters.
Cullen became congregational minister for Windsor, North Sydney, North Willoughby and Watson's Bay. He resigned in 1886, and shortly afterwards purchased and edited a North Sydney newspaper. In 1889 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of St Leonards on a Free Trade ticket. He held the seat until the election of 1894, when he won the seat of Willoughby. The following year he lost Willoughby in an election.
In 1904, Cullen emigrated to Western Australia, spending two years on the Eastern Goldfields. Settling at Katanning, he was owner and editor of the Great Southern Herald from 1906. On 4 October 1909, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council in a by-election for the South East Province. He held the seat until his death at Katanning on 31 March 1917.
- ____________ "Mr Joseph Francis Cullen (Former Member)" Parliament of New South Wales, .
- Black, David; Bolton, Geoffrey (2001). Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia, Volume One, 1870–1930 (Revised ed.). Parliament House: Parliament of Western Australia. ISBN 0730738140.
|Parliament of New South Wales|
|Member for St Leonards
1889 – 1894
Served alongside: Parkes, Burns/Clark
|Member for Willoughby
1894 – 1895