Phoenix Journals from 2005 to 2019 are now available

The VA has just uploaded Phoenix Journals from 2019 to 2005. They are available on the VA website for members to download at anytime. The older editions are available under the phoenix menu (labeled previous editions) and appear once logged in. Work is still continuing to upload the remaining issues from 1987 to 2004. For any assistance please email [email protected]


Wear Orange Wednesday 2019

On Wednesday 22nd May, all Australians are encouraged to wear orange in a united show of thanks for the tremendous work done and commitment shown by SES volunteers.
Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) is a national day of thanks for the many Victoria State Emergency Services (VICSES) volunteers who support their local communities during flood, storm, landslide, road rescue, search and rescue, and more.
In Victoria, SES volunteers responded to more than 31,000 calls for assistance last year, equalling a total of 302,623 operational hours.

Show your support for SES volunteers by wearing something orange on Wednesday, 22 May.

Landmarks in Melbourne and across the country will be ‘flooded’ in orange this WOW Day in support of SES volunteers, including the MCG, AAMI Park, Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne Star.

  • Events and morning teas will also be held throughout the state.
  • Take a photo and tag it with #thankyouSES
  • Change your profile picture to support WOW Day.
  • Send a message of thanks to SES volunteers on social media include the #thankyouSES hashtag.

First edition Phoenix now available online

With the Phoenix’s move to a digital format, it reminded us to look back to where it all started. We’ve now uploaded Edition 1 from 1987 for members to read and download with the aim to eventually digitally archive all editions to preserve the Journals history. To view or download the first edition, simply login select vintage editions from the Phoenix menu. Thanks to SES Craigieburn Unit for letting us view the Phoenix collection at the VICSES Museum. If anyone has any historic information about The Phoenix or VESA, please email [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.


VICSES statement: Port Campbell

A statement from Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch, following the tragic loss of two VICSES volunteers in Port Campbell.

Victoria State Emergency (VICSES) is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of two VICSES volunteers this morning, responding to a rescue in their capacity as Life Saving Victoria volunteers.

VICSES volunteers, management and staff express their deepest sympathies to their family, friends and fellow VICSES members at the Port Campbell Unit.

These two members were dedicated and respected volunteers and their loss will be felt, not only across our organisation, but throughout the community.

VICSES thoughts are also with the third Life Saving Victoria volunteer and his family, after he was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.

He has also served his community for many years as a VICSES and CFA volunteer.

VICSES has offered support to both the familes involved and volunteers at the unit, as well as our partners at Life Saving Victoria.

We ask that the privacy of the families and members of the unit be respected during this difficult time.

Tim Wiebusch 

Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer 


The Phoenix has gone digital!

As Phoenix moves into a contemporary online format, it is worth noting the significant volunteer contribution that has been made to the State of Victoria and its local communities for many decades.

This inaugural online edition of Phoenix looks back at a selection of previously published articles and celebrates the enormous range of SES volunteers’ skills and abilities that continue to build civic cohesion, keep communities safe, work effectively with other agencies, and add value to the lived experience of individuals, in groups and neighbourhoods.

To view the latest copy of the Phoenix please login or register.


VICSES sees decade-long surge in women joining the volunteer…

Providing emergency assistance and supporting other vital services has led to the number of women volunteering at Victoria State Emergency Service (VicSES) leap from about 700 a decade ago to about 1,687 women in 2019.

The VicSES manager of regional operations and readiness, Craig Hooper, said there were a number of reasons for the increase in women volunteers.

“It’s attributed to the programs that we offer and the management of these units,” he said, “and recognising the skill sets that females bring to our organisation to lead our volunteer units.”

Across the decade, the number of women in leadership roles has nearly doubled to 107 — now making up about a quarter of all leaders in the organisation.

“The skill sets you gain with the State Emergency Service, they’re not just to be used through this organisation,” he said.

“They’re skills for life.”

Read the full article at


Broadmeadows SES members attend 10th anniversary memorial service

Members of Broadmeadows SES attended the memorial service for the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires at the Royal Exhibition Building.

In 2009, the Broadmeadows SES Unit was called on to provide assistance with ground support, staging and equipment.

We remember those who lost their lives and livelihoods and thank all the emergency services personnel who gave countless hours to fighting the worst bushfire in Australia’s history.

Article and images courtesy of Broadmeddows Unit Facebook Page:


Mildura SES service awards

Last night Mildura SES celebrated an amazing service achievement of our members.
We congratulate Graeme and Gillian who have both achieved 30 Years of active and dedicated service this month and applaud Michael (Unit Controller) and Salty Moore who both achieved 35 years of dedicated service. Without the commitment shown by these Volunteers and most importantly their respective families and workplaces, the Unit would not be what it is today.

(L-R Graeme Matotek, Gillian Clapp and Michael Hellwege (Salty Moore – Absent)

Article and images courtesy of Mildura Unit Facebook Page:


Marong Unit becomes 103rd VICSES Principal Road Crash Rescue…

It has been very busy for the members from Marong SES, with plenty of big news items to share.

It’s official! Our unit yesterday became the 103rd Principal Road Crash Rescue Provider from VICSES, the 133rd in Victoria.

Our Unit also witnessed a changing of the guard, with our outgoing Unit Controller Kevin standing down after 10 distinguished years at the head of the Unit. Members welcomed Daniel into the position, we look forward to working with you to take the unit to the next level. Our members would like to thank Kevin for his time at the helm, his guidance and mentorship.

Before handing over the reigns, Kevin delivered one final gift. Our generously donated equipment from AAMI, helping us to fill our lockers with equipment to assist with keeping our members, and the wider community safe.

We’d like to thank our Chief Officer Operations, Tim Wiebusch for coming up to meet the members, facilitate the handover of leadership and the presentation of our certificate from our first Road Rescue Capability Assessment. We’d also like to thank the staff from our Regional Office for coming out for the special event.

Finally, we wouldn’t be here without the hard work from our volunteers. Hold your heads high team, it sure is an amazing accomplishment over the past couple of years to get where we are now, here’s to the future.

Article and images courtesy of Marong Unit Facebook Page:


From the Chair

This is my final column as the outgoing Independent Chair ofVicSESVA, but I remain in VicSESVA as Secretary and will continue the work of representing and advocating for volunteers in Victoria and at the national level. I thank all the volunteers and colleagues who have supported me in this role; it has truly been a team effort. At the recent VicSESVA Annual General Meeting new officers were elected: I welcome the new Chair David Rowlands, Treasurer Ann Hinsch, Central West Director Ray Desem and East Director Mitch Darragh. Chris Brown and Chris Patton continue their excellent representation as Director North East, and VESA Shop Manager and task force delegate respectively. 

There have also been recent changes to leadership at Emergency Management Victoria, with Commissioner Craig Lapsley being replaced with incoming Commissioner Andrew Crisp. VicSESVA welcomes the opportunity to work with the new Commissioner and acknowledges the significant legacy left by Craig Lapsley. Craig Lapsley has been a positive force for change in Victorian Emergency Management and has always put volunteers in the centre of operations and planning. His close involvement with and respect for volunteers has been evident in their inclusion in numerous consultative processes. For VicSESVA, this has included representation and contribution to committees, working groups and advisory bodies and being able to make the voice of the SES volunteer heard in multiple forums. VicSESVA officers have been welcomed as influential members of groups which developed the Victorian Volunteer Statement, the Volunteer Consultative Forum, the 3Vs Project and advocacy for the sector-wide expansion of the VFBV Volunteer welfare and Efficiency Survey. These opportunities have been facilitated by Craig Lapsley. Further, many of the sector changes since Black Saturday have been led by the determined vision of Mr Lapsley with a steady and direct sense of privileging action over bureaucracy. A social media campaign acknowledging the work of Craig Lapsley ( refers to his significant contribution to the safety of the Victorian public, wishing to show gratitude, respect, support and appreciation for his work, a sentiment that has been echoed by many SES volunteers around Victoria in recent weeks. VicSESVA acknowledges the achievements of Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner Lapsley and looks forward to an equally productive relationship with the incoming Commissioner Crisp. 

Faye Bendrups 

Independent Chair, VicSESVA