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SES History 1961 - 2002

1961 - 1972

1961 Kevin Shorten goes to Sydney to attend training courses in the operation and training of the Civil Defence Organisation (CDO) in NSW.

Kevin Shorten attends more training at NSW SES HQ. On his return Kevin brings with him much in the way of training literature as there is none in VIC. The Footscray unit of the COD was formed on 8th Feb of this year after a meeting of the following persons: Kevin Shorten, Jack Smith, Keith Anderson, Ralph Schutt, Rupert Dasset, Len West, John Buntine, Roy Schintler, Ern Smith.

Kevin Shorten was appointed Controller, Jack Smith was appointed Deputy Controller and Admin Officer. The meetings and training sessions were held in a room used as an amenities and dining area by the electricity supply employees. Later a garage was made available to store the equipment.

The motto 'IN ADVERSITATEM PARATUS" (prepared in adversity) was adopted.

1963 to 1967 The accumulation of equipment and training of member continues.

The training tower was erected to aid in practising various rescue from heights techniques. Classes were conducted in home nursing, first aid and welfare. These classes were held on 4 nights per week with an average of 20 students per night. Bernie Pettiman from ICI conducted courses in the use of self contained breathing apparatus.

Bill Hogg, Bill Morris, Ken Mealin and Keith Burnham donated money to allow the unit to purchase some urgently needed tarps to be used on storm damaged houses.

1969 Footscray being the only unit in VIC was called upon to assist at the crash of the Southern Aurora at Violet Town. This was in the form of a Bedford truck supplied by the City of Footscray.
1970 October 15th the West Gate Bridge collapses. 21 members with picks and shovels dig  to release the bodies of dead workmen. We were able to advise police that the bridge over Stoney Creek was unable to sustain weight of the cranes being brought in to disaster area. Mobile cranes re-routed around through Williamstown Rd thus another disaster prevented.
1971 A rethink on the form of training was introduced due to lessons learnt from the bridge disaster.
1972 Training continued with communications in times of disaster. We now have our first radio, very excited.
1973 May - Footscray City Electricity supply moves out of Buckley St and we move in, it's great to have our own place but the work entailed to set it up is enormous.
August - houses shored up at the site of sinking village in Yarraville. November storm season hits and flat roofs in south Kingsville needed to be tarped. Western General hospital donated first aid material.
1974 January- a storm hit the CDO headquarters and we lost a lot of the first aid material. On top of that the tarps we had on the Kingsville flats were stolen.
May - Maribyrnong river floods, assistance was given to the residents.
December 25th - cyclone Tracy hits Darwin. Footscray CDO were among the first to man the phones at D24 from 8pm to 7am for one week as it was a public servant holiday.
1975 Jan 2nd - The Footscray LHQ was used as a receiving depot for donated clothing, toys, bedding and other goods for the people of Darwin who had lost their homes and possessions in the cyclone. From here the goods were taken to Laverton RAAF base where they were loaded on to an aircraft for flights to Darwin. Some materials were taken directly to the families who were brought down to Melbourne where they stayed at the Wiltona Hostel until their homes could be rebuilt.
March - Our vehicle was exhibited at the CDO conference with the new emblem on the side, the only one there. From then on we became the State Emergency Service (SES).
May 7th - Shops were bombed in Seddon. Attended to see if welfare aid was needed.  30 homes in the area lost windows. Telephone threats continued, fortunately no one was injured.
September - Maribyrnong river floods again, the usual help given to affected families.
October - Merri Creek floods, usual help given.

1976 - 1990

1976 Nothing available at this time
1977 January- Two break-ins at the unit resulted in a loss of life saving gear. A fire at Dunlop factory caused the unit to be called out to provide breathing equipment. A fire also at Altona North chemical plant saw us rescuing a foreman.
February - The Lara fires were attended to.
March - A DISPLAN (Disaster plan) begin for the local area, as well as help given to Altona and Williamstown areas due to bad storms.
July - We now have four vehicles. Chemical fire at Albright and Wilson, assistance given.
1978  February - Opening of Mt Macedon counter disaster college. Footscray provided and manned the first aid tent.
March - Storm flooding, tarps on many roofs.
August - Maribyrnong river floods again.
November - Flooding with ten houses effected in West Footscray, aid given.
1979  February - Called to Oakleigh to assist with storm damage.
July - Qantas sets up first ever mock disaster, SES attended to take part in activity.
1980 April - Family in Footscray lose everything in a house fire, welfare assistance such as clothes and furniture given.
June - YMCA roof collapses during a storm, assistance given.
1981  January - Called out to big storms in Clayton, Glen Waverly, Hawthorn, Malvern, Prahran, Bundoora, Richmond, and Eltham. Footscray was hit later in the month with huge flooding and fallen trees.
August - More storms, church unroofed and tarps provided
October - More storms with the local library flooded
November - Ceiling collapsed at flats with people trapped, aid given
December - Still more storms, worst hit are Footscray, Deer Park and Kensington.
1982  Jan, Feb & March - Seven major violent storms throughout the western suburbs
October- The controller has the honor of being presented to the governor for work done.
Nov & Dec - More violent storms.
1983  Ash Wednesday fires. Transported bedding, clothing, food, sheets and blankets to Mt Macedon and comforted many badly shocked victims
February - Four vehicles and three trailers go to the Shire of Heytesbury. We set up camp at Timboon. The unit distributed food, welfare, generators and helped rebuild fences etc. We were there for several days until the people could manage on their own. Also the new four wheel drive was a great help!
March - Called out to the fires at Cockatoo in the Dandenongs to assist. Clothing and bedding taken to help those in need.
May, Oct & November - More callouts to storm damage and Maribyrnong river flood again.
1984  January - More storms!! Scout hall (2nd Footscray) burned down, we were called out to demolish the site.
April - Storms again!
September - Car crashed into a house, provided tarps.
1985  January - More storms in Footscray, Williamstown, Altona and Sunshine, tarps provided and trees removed as usual.
March - Murder at Altona Gate, unit called out by police to assist in search for a bullet.
April - Unit attends fire at Butlers Chemical Plant. Parade with personnel and vehicles through city of  Melbourne for Victoriaís 150th.
May - Operation Emergency at Calder. Display by all emergency services
July - Called to assist Argyle St school after fire
Aug & October - Storms, Storms, Storms. House was unroofed, Maribrynong river floods, trees down, VERY BUSY TIME!
November - Roof of Footscray police station collapses. Unit supplies generators and tarps roof.
December - Storms again! Callouts to Carlton, Maribyrnong and Footscray Town Hall.
1986  March - Russell St police station bombing. We were called in to provide sandbags, tarps, tents etc for bomb damaged area. Several detonators which were capable of causing further damage were found while assisting with clean up.
November - Turkish embassy bombing, unit called out to cover windows with plastic.
1987  25 YRS ANNIVERSARY celebrated at 501 receptions.

1991 - 2002

1992  May - Kayla Wheatley is appointed as controller.
September - We mourn the passing of Bill Jennison, a hard working member of the unit.
November - Provide lighting for CIB at crime scene
December - Severe storms hit Footscray, roads become rivers again a very busy time for our members.
Our Christmas party becomes an all night callout affair attending to many storm damaged houses.
1993  Storms hit state, more work for unit members. We also attend an accident between train and car at Rockbank.
September - Maribyrnong river floods again, unit members walk the street to keep local residents informed of the flood levels and warn them to be prepared to move if the river rises to a dangerous level, on top of helping them move their belongings to higher ground.
November - Assist Werribee unit with storm damage in their area.
1994 Nothing documented at this time.
1995 November - IRBís (Inflatable Rescue Boat) and crews spend 5 days assisting at the Barwon River floods. During this time we were officially presented with our new truck our first gift from the state (can be seen in our vehicle gallery page)
December - Provide marshals and security at carols by candlelight service in the city.
1996 March - Supplied boat and crew for Australian F1 Grand Prix. Deployed boats and crew to assist at the Dragon Boat races. We were a main controlling agency for the Australia day parade through the city of Melbourne, which proved to be a very demanding operation, and lastly we supplied members to act as marshals at the Maribyrnong band festivals.
1997 35 YRS ANNIVERSARY celebrated with a night at the unit
August - Landslide at Thredbo NSW buries skiing chalets trapping many, the unit loans wet weather gear to HQ personnel who attend as observers.
October - Truck hits office wall of Graham Campbell Ferrum in West Footscray causing partial collapse ($80,000 in damage) unit inspects site and erects acrow props to make upper levels safe from further collapse.
1998 June - Nationwide exercise at Newport Railway yards.
July - We are saddened by the passing of Graham Johnston, a very active member of the unit.
December - Sydney to Hobart Yacht race boats hit by the worst storm in the races history, SES members are called in to act as air observers on an aircraft searching for crewman washed overboard from race boats.
The unit attends the usual spate of storm damage, cars into houses, trees down, roof damage, burnt houses etc
1999 April - Sydney is hit by a massive hail storm. Footscray members drive and fly to Sydney to relieve local SES units in tarping the thousands of damaged roofs, many members made a second trip.
June - Footscray members act as barrier marshals for the Melbourne City welcome home parade for the Australian cricket team who had just won the world cup.
August - The unit hosts the Manchester City Fire Brigade (UK) on their visit to Australia to participate in Rescue Down Under. Whilst we were entertaining them at our LHQ (local headquarters) a truck crashed into the wall of a factory in Whitehall Street Footscray, a very busy and long night with members attending to secure the site and direct traffic.
2000 Denise Terri is appointed as the new controller.
2001 Callum Donoghue is appointed care taker controller.

Callum is appointed as the new controller.


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