“There was no rescue unit in Gundagai in 1970, so members from the police, rural fire service, ambulance and community volunteers got together to form one.”
When Joe Bond founded the NSW SES Gundagai Unit, he didn’t have a rescue truck. Instead, he used to borrow a tow truck from a friend.
“We used 2 tow-trucks that were owned by local businesses. One truck was a Ford and the other was a Holden. We didn’t have any equipment either, all we had was a couple of crow-bars.”
“There was no rescue unit in 1970, so members from the police, rural fire service, ambulance and community volunteers got together to form one.”
The NSW SES Gundagai Unit was officially recognised in 1974.
Joe says he’s helped with hundreds of car accidents since starting with the NSW SES over forty years ago.
“It used to be really bad. I remember, at one point, we had 28 fatal car accidents in 3 years.”
“There’s been a significant drop in road accidents and fatalities since the Gundagai by-pass was built, but we’re still very active supporting other emergency services.”
Joe has held the one job in the one building – a motor mechanic – for the past 45 years. He says “mateship and the satisfaction of helping people” is why his continues to volunteer with the NSW SES.
“We’re one big happy family, all [the services] supporting each other. We’re like the same uniform but wear different hats.”
Gundagai is a small rural community roughly 390kms south west of Sydney. It’s best-known for the Dog on the Tuckerbox, a popular tourist attraction about 7kms north of Gundagai town.
Joe is a born and bred local, who’s been volunteering with the NSW SES for more than 45 years. In 2013, he was awarded the NSW SES Life Member along with another Gundagai Unit member Bernard Smith.
Local Commander of the Gundagai/Cootamundra Units Ross Tout has nothing but praise for Joe.
"Joe trains all of our new volunteers," Ross says. "He bleeds orange."
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