History of Bayswater SES


27 Clavering Street
Western Australia 6053
(cnr Clavering & Raleigh Streets)

The Unit was Established in:

In the late 1960s as a Civil Defence Unit. In 1971 Became a volunteer unit with the Civil Defence with its headquarters on the corner of Toowong and Hobart Streets, Bayswater. This property was a two room Infant Health Centre that was surplus to the local requirements at that time.

Reason it was established:

In the late 60s, the Civil Defence Unit was raised by the Shire of Bayswater and staffed by paid members of the Shire. At the time the Cold War was at its peak and the personnel in this unit were specially trained to provide assistance in case of Nuclear Attack.

In 1972, after the establishment of the Voluntary Civil Defence Unit, the training began to branch out into other areas of Emergency Services. In 1972, the first Rescue Team was raised under the control of Arthur Griffin, the Team Leader. Ex-military equipment started to arrive and the first rescue trailer was donated to the unit in 1973. It was towed around by the members' own vehicles, at their own expense. The first unit vehicle was obtained in 1975.

Local Coordinator/Manager:

Chief Health Inspector
Shire of Bayswater
1973 - 1978

Special aspects of the unit:

  • Regional Catering Unit until 2004.
  • Regional Logistics Supply Unit from 2007.
  • Bicycle Team for faster urban searches.

National Medal awardees:

  • Mr. Ken PARK
  • Mr. Harry JAMES
  • Mr. John PICKLES
  • Mrs. Lesley BROKENSHA
  • Mr. Kevin LAWLER
  • Mr. Les WATKINS
  • Mr. David HILLS
  • Mr. Brett O'LEARY
  • Mr. Glen HALL
  • Mr. Ray MAHONY
  • Mrs. Jessie THIELE

Other significant awards:

  • Mr. Ray MAHONY - Peter Keilor Award 2007
  • Mr. Ashley SMITH - Youth Achievement Award 2008
  • Mr. Phillip HALE - Youth Achievement Award 2010
  • Mr. Martin HALE - Peter Keilor Award 2013

Current membership Numbers:


The current Local Manager:

Mrs. Nicola Wilkinson

Major or significant events


1975 - Government Grant of $3000 to enlarge the unit building, adding more office accommodation and a purpose built Training Room

1978 - Floods and heavy rain in the Bayswater and Bassendean areas.


1984 - The Bayswater City Council approved the public meeting of the city's voluntary emergency services to organise a plan for civil emergencies. This demonstrated the council's support for the Bayswater Emergency Service and enhanced the relationship between voluntary organizations, such as the Salvation Army, St John's Ambulance and the Red Cross, in emergencies.

1985 - Petrol Tanker rollover spills 10,800 litres of its total 44,000 litres petrol on the corner of Guildford and Garrett Roads. Bayswater Unit was involved in a minor way. But the Police Emergency Procedures did not include the SES in the front line and, following a number of inquiries handed the State Emergency Service to FESA in 1999. This was the second tanker rollover on that corner in 8 months.

1986 - Assisted the Police with the security of Burswood Park during the Papal Mass held there by Pope John Paul II.

1986 - Boans Morley Fire. The SES did not take an active part in this fire, but the consequences of the fire had wide ranging effects on the local emergency services.

1989 - 1994 - Members of the Unit recognised that their role had outgrown their building and negotiations began to acquire a new purpose built building. The members began fund raising and the State and Commonwealth governments and the Lotteries Commission gave grants to assist. Approaches were made to Council in the early 90s when it was identified that fundraising efforts could not keep up with rising costs. This whole process occurred over a 5 year period. The work that the Unit members did to raise money during this period was a credit to all of them. It showed out the commitment of everyone involved.

The City of Bayswater provided the land and assisted the Unit members with applications for grant as well as making a grant of their own.


1990 - The end of the year was rather hectic for metropolitan units with three major searches, extensive storm damage incidents, and a large aerial search. On the 8th and 9th December a search at Guildford involved 35 people from Swan, Bassendean and Bayswater units with support from the Dog Team. The same weekend uncharacteristic windy weather generated about 90 storm damage incidents with well over 100 SES members involved from most metro units. Hot weather also saw those units, including Bayswater, with a welfare support role helping their local Bush Fire Brigades.

There was a massive aerial search for a missing iron ore carrier. Thirty SES aerial observers were involved in a search costing over $40,000. The year was rounded off with a massive search at Leda which finished in tragic circumstances on Saturday 29th December.

1991 - Thursday 31st January 1991 Bayswater State Emergency Service Volunteers, provided hot and cold meals in a field location to the many organisations involved in the Yanchep Bushfires, with their capacity to serve. Within thirty minutes of arriving at Yanchep National Park, the Welfare team was serving meals. The Unit provided over 1100 hot and cold meals in a 40 hour period.

1991 - Peer Support Group was founded. Two Bayswater members, Margaret WATSON and Ray MAHONY, were later trained to look after the Unit members and others as needed. Ray MAHONY is still serving with the Unit.

1993 - SES volunteer members catered for the Police Service at the Skyshow January 26th 1993. The group from the Bayswater SES prepared over 450 meals for the large police and SES contingent who attended at the big sky spectacular which attracted over 500,000 spectators. It was the first time the SES was involved with the police in an exercise of this nature.

1994 - Severe storms in May of this year over three to four days. Unit operation took place over 3 - 4 days. Considerable assistance was given to the Unit by the City of Bayswater and, in particular from the late Councillor Pat O'HARA.

1994 - Saw the retirement of two of Bayswater State Emergency Services' long serving volunteers. Frank O'BRECHT and John PICKLES had a total of 33 years between them, including a term of two years each as Co-ordinator (Local Manager).

Frank will probably be most remembered and treasured for his reputation as the BBC Chef extraordinaire. His culinary delights in times of need - especially those 3am call-outs.

John commenced his voluntary service with the Civil Defence in 1973 and progressed with the unit as it became the Civil Emergency Service to the present status of State Emergency Service.

1996 - The purpose built unit was opened in Clavering Street, the Unit's current home. At the time this building was judged to be the ideal purpose built building in the entire Emergency Services area.

1998 - Two unit members, Dave HILLS & Brett O'LEARY were members of the State Team in the National Skills Competition. This team came second in the titles, the first time WA had ever submitted a team.

1999 - Bayswater SES members travelled to Exmouth to assist that community with the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Vance.

1999 - Bayswater SES members travelled to Moora to help the community with the flooding caused by Tropical Cyclones Vance and Elaine. The members did this trip twice in six weeks.

The first time, Bayswater went to feed the local crews who were watching the river levels and preparing for any emergency. At that time there were approximately 35 - 40 volunteers being fed. Bayswater was the Welfare Unit at the time. When the river burst its banks, the Bayswater Catering Caravan needed to be evacuated itself. With the escalating problems in Moora, the Unit ended up feeding the whole town, many more than they anticipated they would be catering for. Moora High School Canteen became their base of operations. Local businesses donated a lot of their food stores that, otherwise, would have been lost due to power outages and the flood waters.

On their second visit to Moora, Bayswater assisted with flood repairs, patient transfers and worked within the communications area.

1999 - Bayswater began their support to the Biblical Society in their yearly walk on the Bibulmann Track. This support has been ongoing each year and is still being carried out. Bayswater actively encourages its members to partake in this support as it is ideal training for members. Each year the Bible Society covers a distance of 100 kms on the "Track".


2000 - Granted the Freedom Of The City of Bayswater. This is a singular honour that can be bestowed on a SES Unit by the City that is within the unit's area of operations. At the time, Bayswater was the first SES Unit in Australia to be granted Freedom of Entry into a Town or City.

2003 - Bayswater SES Bike Team formed. This team is used for fast deployment particularly in searches, but have been used in other capacities. Members of the team are dedicated to bike riding and exercise regularly. They have been used in a number of high profile searches.

2004 - Smorgan Scrap Metal Fire. The SES provided logistical support for this fire. However, many changes to procedures were made to protect members of FESA.

2005 - Winners of the Metro Challenge.

2005 - Unit members, Ray MAHONY & Laurie HICKS, became members of the State National Disaster Rescue Team.

2006 - WA Salvage Fire in Morley. Logistical support only. This fire spelt the end of an era for the Bayswater/Morley area and led to the demise of WA Salvage.

2006 - Major Tornado in Subiaco.

2007 - Tornadoes within the City of Bayswater and close surrounding areas.

2007 - Running of the Metro Challenge.

2007 - Ray MAHONY wins the Peter Keilor Award.

2008 - Winners of the Goldfields Challenge.

2008 - Winners of the Metro Challenge.

2008 - Ashley SMITH wins the SES Youth Achievement Award.


2010 - Savage storms hit the Perth Metropolitan Area. Bayswater teams joined with other units to help the affected communities. Members of the unit did 539 hours of community work over a very short period of time. During the aftermath of the storms, units for the north of the State arrived to assist the local units. The Broome unit Local Manager, who bought a team to Perth was Laurie HICKS, a former member of the Bayswater Unit. The total damage during the storms neared $1 Billion Dollars prompting the Government to declare a natural disaster.

2010 - Members of the Unit took part in the high profile search for the missing body of Craig PUDDY, a Perth millionaire.

2010 - Winners of the Goldfields Challenge

2010 - Phillip HALE wins the SES Youth Achievement Award

2013 - Martin HALE wins the Peter Keilor Award