We don’t know the names or the clubs of the 11 volunteer bushwalkers who left the Russell Street Police Headquarters in 2 trucks early on Friday 6 May 1949 for Port Welshpool. There they boarded a fishing ketch and were landed on the east coast of Wilsons Promontory to join the large search for a missing bushwalker.
This was the first occasion volunteer bushwalkers organised through the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (now Bushwalking Victoria) assisted in a bush search.
Senior Police were very impressed with the skill and independence of these bushwalkers and encouraged the Federation to establish a formal search and rescue section. Several clubs made this a reality soon after this search when they formed the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs Search and Rescue Section.
The search for Alfred Howie, a solo walker missing at Wilsons Promontory, commenced on 6 May 1949. No trace of him was ever found.
In the early years, members were called out in response to a request for assistance from Victoria Police by a club-based telephone tree. Searchers assembled at the Russell Street Police Headquarters in a basement hall.
Bill Brand, former Officer in Charge of the Search and Rescue Squad, passed away on the morning of Monday the 17th of September 2018. Bill Brand was one of the founding members of the Search and Rescue Squad and served at all ranks up to Inspector until his retirement in the mid-1980’s.
Bill Brand was a great friend and supporter of BSAR.
The funeral service was held at Heritage Funerals, 733 Boronia Rd Wantirna, at 10 am on Tuesday the 2nd October 2018.
2 October 2018, by Duncan Brookes
Thank you to the Brand family for the opportunity to pay tribute to Bill on behalf of the bushwalkers; “The Bushies”.
Since BSAR’s inception in 1949 we have maintained a network of Club Contacts whose role is to participate in calling out club members active with BSAR to search for missing persons.
Often working late at night, our Club Contact’s dedication and contribution to BSAR’s success as an emergency service cannot be overstated. Club Contacts were last used during the protracted search at Mt Dom Dom in 2009.
However, over recent years technology has evolved to provide more efficient electronic methods to call out members, which means the role of Club Contact is now no longer required.
I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for your commitment and service to BSAR as a Club Contact.
BSAR will continue to use our automated call-out system. If necessary, our Police Liaison Officers can also use a “fifty most active members” list to conduct a manual call-out.
Many Club Contacts have ongoing roles within BSAR including Searchers, Delegates and Peer Supporters. We look forward to their continued contribution in those roles.
For those who have only been operating as a Club Contact, we hope you will also remain connected with BSAR.
Once again, I would like to thank all Club Contacts for their significant contribution to BSAR.
The Pioneers of Bushwalking exhibition was officially launched on Monday, 24 October 2011 by Tim Holding MP, Shadow Treasurer during this year’s History Week celebrations. The exhibition is a collection of stunning images and artefacts that explore the fascinating history of the Melbourne Walking Club and some of the remarkable achievements of its members.
Past Bush Search and Rescue member Stuart Brookes features in one of the photographs.
The exhibition runs until Friday, 9 December 2011. Entry is free.
Where: Royal Historical Society of Victoria, 239 A’Beckett Street, Melbourne 3000
A Trip Intentions website is now available for people who would like to submit their trip intentions online via email to designated contact people. This site provides a quick and easy way to advise your nominated contacts about details of your trip – and when to “raise the alarm” if you don’t return by your specified date.
Some information on distress beacons and what do to do if you get lost is also provided.
Joanne Prideaux with her family and friends kindly organised as sausage sizzle at Bunning Sunbury on 2 September 2011 to raise funds for Bush Search and Rescue. Joanne organised this to thank BSAR for its recent efforts in the search for David Prideaux at Tomahawk Creek near Mt Stirling.