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Farewell Old mate

In Memory of Chelsea member No. 53040 Graeme Russell


Chelsea SES member Graeme Russell passed away peacefully on Thursday the 21st of October 2010.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his family and he will be sadly missed by us all.


Here is a copy of the words spoken by Chelsea member Phil Wall at the funeral on Wednesday the 27th of October in memory of Graeme.

Graeme William Russell - 1940-2010

Chelsea has been a proud SES Unit for almost 60 years. Way back then when Chelsea Civil Defence, as it was known then, was being established, Graeme William Russell was in his last year of primary school. The pride in any Unit comes from within, from its members, and there was no prouder member of Chelsea SES than member 53040, Graeme William Russell.

Many believe that there are only two type’s of people in this world; givers and takers. Winston Churchill said that we make a living by what we get; but we make a life by what we give, if this is true, and I’m sure that it is, then Graeme must have had a very full and rich life indeed, because he truly was a giver.

He was always the first to arrive at the unit for training, PR and media events and of course callouts. As a duty officer I could always guarantee that as soon the pager went off, within seconds the phone would ring, “G’day mate; Graeme Russell here, I can be at the unit in 8 minutes. I would always remind him that we didn’t know yet if we were going to activate the unit and his answer would always be, “well I’ll head up there just in case” now that’s commitment. If we had a PR event and members were asked to be at the unit by 8.30 in the morning; I’d get a call from Graeme the night before to say that he’d be there at 8 just to be on the safe side but I knew that he’d actually be there by 7.30; just in case.

It could never be said that Graeme was anything less than 100% dedicated to a task. One night nearing the finish of a large tree job in Mordialloc, Graeme was told to grab the large broom from the truck and give the road a sweep. Gear was stowed and the job was finished but where was Graeme, he was on his way to Parkdale still sweeping that road, he was told to sweep and sweep he did, he just wanted to do the best job he could for the team no matter how big or small he understood that every job was as important as any other, if he hadn’t been told to stop he would have swept that road all the way to Melbourne, simply because that’s what he had been asked to do.

Another day we had a small job that came in for building damage to a house in Chelsea. As it was during the day, members were thin on the ground but I wasn’t worried because my regular phone call had confirmed that Graeme was 8 minutes away. The only members that were available to turn out were Graeme and our Controller Ron so off they went. Everything was going along well until it was discovered that a piece of gear was needed out of one of the other vehicles. Graeme was duly dispatched back to LHQ to collect the gear and return it to the job. Off went Graeme for the 5 minute trip to the unit whilst Ron continued with preparations in anticipation of Graeme’s return. 15 minutes went by and Ron assumed that perhaps the gear wasn’t exactly where they thought and that Graeme was conducting a search, but after almost half an hour even Ron was getting concerned. Eventually, Ron called Graeme, Where are you! I think there may have been a few other adjectives thrown in as well, but then back came the answer. I’m trying to find the job. Graeme had got lost on the return trip between the unit and the job but was not game to phone Ron to get directions because he didn’t want to let anyone down.

When you begin to consider the qualities of Graeme’s character, there are so many words that come to mind. Friendly, honest, trustworthy, generous, sincere, humble, enthusiastic, hardworking and loyal. As I said, he was a very proud member of Chelsea SES. Proud of the job he was able to do for his community and fiercely proud of the uniform he wore. Sometimes it is easy to forget just how much this uniform means to the people who wear it, to Graeme it meant the world.

Dean and I visited Graeme in hospital on the Wednesday evening before he passed away and his Son in Law Paul, told me that when he joined Chelsea SES, Graeme’s family tripled.

It sometimes sounds a little corny to talk about the unit being a family, but in so many ways it really is. Like any family it is made up of many different personalities and so; just like all families, life is not always 100% harmonious.

However, at times of crisis or at times of loss, the family unites, just as we have at this sad time, there to support each other in whatever way we can, the entire family.

At 66 years of age when most of us are looking to slow down and take it easy, Graeme made the decision to take on a new challenge in his life, to move down a new pathway.

Three and a half years ago, Graeme delivered a spark to Chelsea SES that through his memory will continue to glow forever. That glow brightened every life that came close to it and warmed every heart that was touched by it.

The lives that Graeme passed through were made better simply by his having been there.

Graeme will long be remembered for so many great things, but by so many of us, simply for being a great bloke.

Farewell Graham and God’s speed. Thanks for everything mate, we’ll all miss you but somehow I’ve got a feeling that you’ll always only be about 8 minutes from our hearts.


Graeme's coffin was draped with the SES flag as well as his helmet and flowers


Chelsea SES members line the way following Graeme's funeral service at Gateway in Chelsea heights 


SES Chaplain, Major Arthur Ford leads the cortege through the Chelsea SES Guard of honour


Pall bearers included Graeme's brother Laurie, Son in Lae Paul and members from Chelsea SES


The SES Guard of Honour for Graeme's last journey including members from Frankston SES


 Farewell Graeme and thanks mate.



Daniel King 450

 Former Chelsea SES member Daniel King

 It is with much sadness that we learn of the sudden, tragic passing of ex Chelsea SES member Daniel King. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the unit go to his family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time. The Funeral Service for Daniel is to be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 894 Springvale Rd, Braeside on MONDAY (May 20, 2013) commencing at 11.00 a.m. A Burial will follow at the Bunurong Memorial Park, 790 Frankston-Dandenong Rd, Dandenong Sth commencing at approx. 1.30 p.m.
Rest in Peace Daniel; you will be sadly missed by so many.


Last Updated (Sunday, 19 May 2013 19:28)