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Northern NSW : Celebrating 40 years Rescue December2015
Crew cut from the right cloth Take us back to the start. Terry (67): ‘ Originally it was the old Bank of NSW rescue helicopter. In the original year (1975) there were 12 of us and I was 2IC or crew chief and I held that role for the first three years of the Service and then I became the director of the Service, or the general manager. I was the boss for seven years and then I retired from that role in March 1986. Did you envisage where it would be after 40 years? ‘ I believed the sponsorship would continue and I thought it would expand. Back in the early days we did have a couple of opportunities to branch into bigger sponsorships, but short-term ones, so over the long run we’ve been very lucky we remained with Westpac because they’ve looked after the Service ever since. ‘ Once the service got going and developed so rapidly I had no doubts that it would continue into the long term and I had no doubts that it would develop into a much bigger service.’ Best memories? ‘Working with an unbelievably dedicated group of pilots and air crew. In that first 10 years, everything was totally volunteer. And I include the pilots in that, even though they were paid, because in those days there was only one pilot and he was on 24/7, which would be unheard of today. It was nothing for us to do a day on duty, reach the front gate at home only for the pager to go off, come back to the base and be out until midnight. So those pilots were as much volunteer as the air crew were.’ Sense of pride not only in relation to the early days, but also for how the Service has developed? ‘ I’m extremely proud of what we did. I’m a little bit biased, but I think most of the major milestones were achieved in that first 10 years. We developed the relationship with the ambulance paramedics and we were the first in Australia to do that. And I’m extremely proud that my son has followed in my footsteps.’ Todd: (31) Was your father a role model? ‘I ’ve always had the Service and its culture in my blood. As I grew up Dad became less involved with the Service, but we were never short of war stories. Hearing what he’d been through provided guidance for me. It was motivating when I moved into this role. ‘I consider it a tremendous achievement to be in the role that he was in 40 years ago. I can be here doing what I’m doing now because of people like my father.’ Guidance for life generally? A good example has been set. ‘Very much so. This place was born and bred and built on volunteers. They weren’t on the big dollars. They did it out of love and dedication. That laid the foundation and allowed it to grow into a world-class aero-medical operation. We owe a lot to Dad in particular and the other guys who served with him in those initial years. Messages? Terry: ‘Safety has taken total prominence and total dominance of the Service today, and it can’t be any other way. In my day we saw a responsibility, as the only rescue helicopter in the area, to do our best to save lives. Sometimes we worked in a grey area and pushed ourselves and the safety parameters. We had a basically equipped aircraft with a turn-and-bank indicator and an altimeter and a couple of guys using their eyes, whereas these days it’s all done for them. There is a responsibility to endeavour to fulfil the role as best you can, but also as safely as you can.’ Todd: ‘We need to know where we’ve come from before we know where we are going, particularly in relation to all the hard work that everyone has done. We are only here through the hard work and dedication of a few. It’s a fantastic Service and I’m proud to have Dad involved 40 years down the track.’ Read the full interview transcript with the Mulvilles on the WRHS website. TERRY MULVILLE WAS CREW CHIEF WHEN THE RESCUE HELICOPTER SERVICE COMMENCED IN 1975. HIS SON TODD HAS FOLLOWED IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS AND IS NOW STANDARDISATION CREWMAN. Rescue Magazine CELEBRATING 40 YEARS SPECIAL EDITION 5
Rescue Aut 2016