Historically, it is unique that the Mandurah State Emergency Service (SES) was initially founded by the Reverand Father Franz Edward Hope, a local Catholic parish priest, after a small boy was trapped down a bore-hole in Mandurah in January 1959. Volunteers worked non-stop before a satisfactory rescue was made after 23 hours had passed.
Prior to this, the town of Mandurah, with a population of 12,000 and a summer population of 25,000, had no rescue services, the nearest being at Pinjarra. The town was again rocked by a drowning tragedy shortly after in 1959 when another Catholic priest and three nuns lost their lives in a boating accident.
In 1975, after leadership was handed over to Mr. Fred Booker, the members' numbers and interests began to grow. The Mandurah shire council gave the group permission to erect a 30ft x 30ft iron-framed shed on council property in Park Road, as a base for training, storage, and operations, including the "Local Emergency Operations Centre" (LEOC). The new building was officially opened by the then Shire President, Cr. Pat Thomas. With the retirement of Mr. Booker, the unit continued to grow in credibility and strength, with leadership coming from Mr. Geoff Burrell, followed by Mr. Barry Bell, until 1985 when Mr. Neil Davidson was appointed as coordinator by the Mandurah Shire Council.
In 1988 with the town's population approaching city status, plus the continued high membership of the group, it was imperative that a feasibility study of the existing premises be reviewed for the expansion of the LEOC to meet requirements under the "Mandurah Counter Disaster Plan. The building upgrade's urgency was fully realized in August 1988 when the town was devastated by a tornado, causing extensive damage to approximately 100 dwellings and collateral damage.
The aftermath of the tornado resulted in an immediate fundraising activity to rebuild the LEOC and accommodate the rescue services and the Mandurah Counter Disaster Committee when the disaster occurred. The council partly funded the upgraded Mandurah LEOC with a sum of $23,000. Donations and sponsorship raised a further $21,000. Added to this was 5,000 hours of volunteered labor, freely given by members in various ways during construction. The new building was officially opened by the Mayor of the City of Mandurah, Mr. Bruce Cresswell, on the 7th April 1990. In addition to the building project, the members of the Mandurah Unit, by their endeavors over several years, have accrued, at their own expense, rescue equipment in excess of $60,000.
Local Manager Neil Davidson OAM CD became the longest-serving manager of the Mandurah SES until he passed away following an illness in 2010. His dedication to community service and continued growth of the Mandurah SES was an inspiration to many. Mr. Christopher Stickland ESM was appointed the new Local Manager in late 2010. The Mandurah SES is now well placed with the numbers and quality of its Volunteers to serve the community in times of need or disaster.
The Mandurah State Emergency Service (SES) is committed to providing a reliable volunteer emergency service to the City of Mandurah, with timely emergency response, advice and education to residents in dealing with natural and man-made emergencies.
SES Volunteers actively engage the local community with awareness and education activities. Volunteers also assist other government agencies in various support roles in the interest of public safety.
Presentations to Schools & Organizations
Mandurah SES Volunteers provide speakers to present emergency preparedness and related information to schools and other interested organizations.
Mandurah SES Volunteers conduct regular emergency preparedness displays at many public venues, often with the support of local businesses and other organizations.
Mandurah SES Volunteers have traditionally supported the City of Mandurah and other organizations with public safety at community events including: Anzac Day Parade Mandurah Crab Fest Mandurah Stretch Festival Motorbike Christmas Charity Ride Family Christmas Parade New Years Eve celebration