The Perth SES unit (in its original form) was established over 30 years ago.
There was no plan – when storms hit, half a dozen Perth City Council officers in blue overalls travelled around in the council vehicles responding to requests of the then assistant city engineer, who was also travelling around in his own vehicle spotting problems. Shortly after that, two rescue trailers, equipment and a truck were supplied, and following completion of a rescue leader course, Ian Lush became the first Perth SES unit manager.
Originally, the only SES volunteers at the Perth unit were all Council employees, primarily because the emergency operations centre and storage facilities were within the council depot at James Street, with security being a problem. 1989 – The unit vacated the James Street depot moving to 60 Frame Court, Leederville, and becoming known as Northshore SES in lieu of Perth SES. This change of location facilitated a new drive to recruit volunteers from outside Council ranks. 1994 – During the severe storms, the entire unit was involved with operating water pumps and sandbagging in a mammoth all-night effort to prevent water from entering buildings on Riverside Drive and Mounts Bay Road. 1997 – The unit vacated its premises in Leederville and moved to its current home, in Lynton Street, Mount Hawthorn.
1999 – The Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) was formed and took over as the controlling entity for the SES.
2003 – The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) was introduced, becoming the new primary source of funding for the unit, with extra funds being raised through fundraising and from the unit being involved in community activities such as the Christmas Pageant and Opera in the Park.
2005 – Severe storms hit Perth in both May and September, and the Northshore volunteers were kept busy for days on end attending hundreds of damage callouts in the areas of Mosman Park, City Beach and Subiaco. Assistance was provided by other SES Units, from areas that had been less affected by the storms and, at the peak of the emergency, 117 volunteers, from 11 SES Units, including Northam and Serpentine and Jarrahdale Units were operating from the Northshore unit in 17 teams.
2007 – Ian Lush, the unit manager of over 30 years, retires from the SES. Jim MacLean takes over, with Nick Elliott stepping up as the new deputy manager and Matt Boots becoming the new training manager. The new Northshore truck was delivered, the rear extension to our unit was finally completed, and our first real website was launched.
2009 – Kings Park bushfire in WA, and in particular the Black Saturday bushfires (VIC) saw an outpouring of grief around the state that had never previously been witnessed. This resulted in the FESA Volunteer Recruitment Line recording an unprecedented volume of enquiries from those wishing to volunteer as SES members.
2010 – Perth, and in particular the Western Suburbs, is smashed by a large and unpredicted hail storm followed up with torrential rain. The total damage bill was into the billions. The Northshore area alone received over 900 calls for assistance which took more than 9 days to clear.
2011 – Jim MacLean stands down as unit manager, and Nick Elliott takes over. Due to the increased size of membership, two deputy managers are appointed, being James Hines and Hazel Darkin.
2012 – FESA is disbanded, replaced by the Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) with Wayne Gregson APM appointed as the new Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner.