Swan SES (shown here is the Swan SES 2023 crew) is celebrating their 60th anniversary on Saturday, May 18 at Jack Mann Oval.

Swan SES celebrates 60 years of service

There will be a Swan SES historical display, food vans, fire trucks, face painting, the RAC simulation helicopter, live music and more.
May 9, 2024

FROM a humble beginning of storing equipment in the Midland Town Hall Clock Tower to a state-of-the-art emergency services facility, Swan State Emergency Service (SES) has faithfully served the City of Swan and the Shire of Chittering across many and varied emergencies over the past 60 years.

While their prime focus is assisting with cyclones, earthquakes, floods, storms and tsunamis, Swan SES also responds and provides support for many other emergencies including search and bushfires.

Swan SES has been in operation since 1964, when the unit was originally known as the ‘Town of Midland Voluntary Emergency Service’ (VES), which was part of the WA Civil Defence and Emergency Service.

The first coordinator was Ron Gray of Midland who attended a federally funded counter-disaster course at the National Emergency Services College in Victoria. On his return he was responsibile for forming a Midland VES.

There were no training facilities available, and the equipment was stored in the Midland Town Hall Clock Tower.

When there was an emergency, Ron would call on all his seven members to assist.

In 1970, the Town of Midland and the Shire of Swan-Guildford united to form the present Shire of Swan, and the unit was renamed the ‘Swan Voluntary Emergency Service’.

In 1980, the unit established its own Emergency Operational and Training Centre in the City of Swan Works Depot, off Bishop Road. The Swan Shire and the WA SES each provided $10,000 to establish the initial basic Swan Volunteer Emergency Headquarters, and it was around this time that the Swan VES changed its name to ‘Swan State Emergency Service’.

In 1984, Paul Shakes took over the role of coordinator with the title changing to local manager in the early 1990s.

Knowledge and ideas from people with different backgrounds came together over the many years that Paul was in the position, allowing the unit to continue its success.

In 1989, there was a combined opening of the operations centre and the Swan SES 25th anniversary, with 30 volunteers at the time in the Swan SES.

During the 1990s, the Swan Welfare van was known as the largest catering van in the state and provided a major support role for firefighters.

In December 2010, Emergency Services Minister Rob Johnson turned the first sod at the site of the new Emergency Service Facility (ESF) on the corner of Bishop Road and Great Northern Highway in Middle Swan.

One year later, the unit moved into the new building, and December 8, 2012 was the official opening of the $1.2 million purpose-built combined Swan ESF which houses both Swan SES and the Swan Communication Bushfire Brigade.

The state government funded $860,000 for the new building, comprising $700,000 from the FESA Capital Works Program and $161,000 from the emergency services levy – capital grants scheme.

The City of Swan complemented the government’s contribution by providing $350,000 for the extension of the sewer lines, building of a car park and management of the contract.

A Swan SES logo and motto was developed in 2017 to better reflect the direction of the unit.
The new motto was ‘Myself, My Team, My Community’, and in 2019, Swan SES received the City of Swan Australia Day ‘Active Citizenship Award’ for “Recognising outstanding community contribution.”

Daryl Coleman is the current local manager, and there are now 62 volunteers at the Swan SES.
Across these 60 years, Swan SES has been involved in significant deployments, major incidents and community engagement.

Significant deployments included severe tropical cyclones Elaine and Vance (1999), Moora floods (1999), Adelaide storms and floods (2016), severe tropical cyclone Seroja (2021), NSW floods (2022), and Fitzroy Crossing floods (2023).

Major incidents included the Barrass search near Muchea (1998), Waroona-Yarloop fire support (2016), Muchea search (2016), Muchea vehicle control point during COVID (2020), and Wooroloo fire support (2020) where the unit became a staging area for the west division.

Swan SES is celebrating their 60th anniversary on Saturday, May 18 at Jack Mann Oval from 10am to 3pm.

There will be a Swan SES historical display, food vans, fire trucks, face painting, the RAC simulation helicopter, live music and more, with an official ceremony held at 11am.

Privately owned, proudly independent local news service.

ALL IMAGES & WORDS © 2023 Echo Newspaper
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram