Many of us have seen the orange-suited SES recently, particularly in the aftermath of the great storm of 2020/21 and more recent floods.

Last Saturday, Daylesford SES had an Open Day, where they took the opportunity to show off the kit they use and to talk to community members about their role and responsibilities when disaster strikes our region.

Daylesford SES Controller, Brad Climie, explained that they are an all-volunteer group who manage the emergency response to storms, floods, and earthquakes.  They also help with road rescues, search and rescue and with major bushfire events..  And all this with (currently) membership of only 20 volunteer members.

The Unit was first established in 2009 and was operational out of a local member’s shed until their permanent station was built in its current location on Midland Highway.

Daylesford SES volunteers on the job.

Who are they? 

Membership numbers have fluctuated over the years with the original cohort being trades people and hospitality workers.  The change in demographic during COVID isolation has seen the membership shift to a more professional career base and a decline in available members resulting in a reduced capacity overall and particularly for daytime response. This is in line with trends in the SES across Victoria and volunteering in general across the country as a whole.

The Unit is currently conducting a recruitment campaign to improve their community response.  The unit has availability for community members to join and engage in the SES with roles in general storm response, finance, community engagement and incident management.

Daylesford SES crews are trained in nationally accredited courses.


The unit has one general rescue heavy vehicle, two storm response 4×4’s, a boat and a lighting tower.


Daylesford SES fight above their weight.  In 2020/21 when the region was heavily impacted by the memorable storm event the crew of only 20-strong members carried out 6400 hrs of volunteering.  In the past financial year they responded to storms, floods, a number of rescues and assisted fire agencies, ambulance and police at a number of incidents.


The unit response boundary covers an area of approximately 1030 square kilometres in the shires of Moorabool, Hepburn and a small part of Mount Alexander.  Their response area extends from Blackwood through Barkstead to the outskirts of Creswick, up to Campbelltown across to Drummond North down through Trentham back to Blackwood.


The unit is made up of approximately one third women and two thirds men, a shift from historically where there was a 50/50 split of male/female volunteers.

The culture of the unit is formed from a group of like-minded people with the desire to volunteer their time to assist people in the community in their most vulnerable times and to give something back.  Daylesford State Emergency Service is a group of dedicated people who sacrifice family and work-time to serve the community.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Daylesford SES, contact

Related Stories:

Catastrophic Fire in Hepburn and Daylesford – But Only a Simulation

This is the second in a series of articles we plan to publish to highlight the organisations that protect our communities from disasters.