Vale Jim Grelis

Jim Grelis, BSAR Field OrganiserA tribute to Jim Grelis, 14.9.1951 – 7.6.2017

Jim was BSAR stalwart.  He joined in the late 70s and became a Field Organiser in the mid 80s, a position he held until his death.

Jim attended over 25 searches and was Field Organiser on over 15.

Jim was deployed with full alpine climbing kit on Mount Feathertop in 1983 when Stephen Galland fell near the summit and died. I was on that trip and greatly appreciated the efforts of Police and BSAR rescue teams.

Jim was also Field Organiser on the very demanding search for Tom Kneen on Mt Feathertop in 1985.  He started at Mt St Gwinear for a search that was resolved, then went to Mt Stirling for a search already in progress and was then redirected to Mt Feathertop.

Jim assisted with the development of BSAR Steep Snow and Ice skills and training after these events.

Most recently he was Field Organiser on the South Viking search in 2014.

Senior Sergeant Barry Gibson retires

BSAR members with Barry Gibson

Bush Search and Rescue members attended a farewell for Senior Sergeant Barry Gibson on 30 June 2016 for his retirement from Police Search and Rescue after 33 years of notable service with the squad. 

Barry has been a great friend and supporter of Bush Search and Rescue. We have greatly appreciated Barry’s leadership on numerous searches over the years and the excellent support and encouragement he has provided to BSAR training events and more broadly to the organisation.

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BSAR Field Organiser Peter Briggs on a different type of search – for submarine AE2

Peter Briggs

 

BSAR Field Organiser and Retired Rear Admiral Peter Briggs is leading a team of Australians on a different type of search – a mission to preserve the WW1 submarine AE2 as part of the Silent Anzac Project.

Peter previously led a dive survey in October 2007 that found the 99-year-old submarine to be in “remarkably good shape”.
HMAS Ae2 submarine
HMAS AE2 in Sydney, circa 1914. Source: Australian War Memorial
The well-preserved submarine was sunk by Ottoman gunfire off the Turkish coast in 1915.  HMAS AE2 was an E-class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and was the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles strait in a bid to secure the Gallipoli Peninsula.

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BSAR members success in the 2014 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games

John McGauran Gold Medal

Three BSAR members particpated in the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games held in Melbourne over 19-24 April 2014.

John McGauran competed in the stair climb and wond a gold medal in the 60-64 age group class.  John’s time would have won the bronze medal in the in the 40-44 age group.  Congratulations John!

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David Reid awarded OAM for services to bushwalking

David Reid OAMDavid Reid, Past President and Board Member of Bushwalking Victoria, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2014 Australia Day honours for services to bushwalking.

This award is recognition of many years of dedicated advocacy and service on behalf of all bushwalkers.

David was also President of Bushwalking Australia from 2010 to 2012 and supported the formation of the organisation in 2006.   David was a strong supporter of Bush Search and Rescue Victoria.

Tribute to Bill Bewsher

A gathering was held in Melbourne on Thursday 19 July at the Retreat Hotel in Abbotsford to celebrate the achievements and life of Bill Bewsher.

Many tales and memories were shared of Bill’s remarkable contributions to education, the Bushcraft and Mountain Leadership (BMLC) course, Bush Search and Rescue, the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (now Bushwalking Victoria), Melbourne University Mountaineering Club, his quest for the first ascent of Federation Peak in South West Tasmania, and his leadership and exploration at the Australian Antartic Base.

Bill’s achievements have been recognised in part by the naming of an Antartic mountain, a Tasmanian pass and Tasmanian lake after him.

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Vale Bill Bewsher

Bill Bewsher passed away last weekend in Tasmania.  BSAR extends its condolences to Bill’s family and friends.

Bill was a leading figure within BSAR’s history and had a tremendous influence on the course of search and rescue for two decades.  He was appointed inaugural Convenor and held this position from 1949 to 1956 and again for a year in 1958-1959.  Bill also became the first Field Organiser in 1950 and, excepting a fifteen-month tour of duty in Antarctica, held that position until 1970.  After retiring from that position, Bill contributed as a Police Liaison Officer until the mid-1980s thereby concluding a 35-year involvement in land-based search and rescue.

One of the biggest searches coordinated by Bill was that for Mihram Haig at Mt Baw Baw in June 1955.  The terrain was steep and dense and communications were difficult.  An amazing 205 BSAR members attended during the search, the largest number on any search to date.

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Vale Snow Girl

The Donna Buang search of 1953 was one of the pivotal searches in the history of Bush Search and Rescue Victoria. Bill Bewsher performed the role of Field Organiser at a time when the Victoria Police did not yet have a search and rescue squad.  BSAR personnel conducted the structured searching and recovered the two missing people, stretchering them both to the road. (Source The Scroggin Eaters).

One of the survivors, Jennifer Laycock, lost her legs to frostbite and the media labelled her the “Snow Girl” as they followed her recovery.

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Neville Byrne

Neville Byrne

Neville Byrne is a rural Police Liaison Officer with Bush Search and Rescue who who lives in Tawonga, at the base of Mt Bogong.  Neville has been active with Bush Search and Rescue for 40 years as a searcher and Field Organiser.

Neville says searching is not about heroics.  “It’s just a hard slog, often in the rain and cold. You’re just doing a job not everyone can do.”