History

Saving lives since 1975

Nobody has ever had to pay to be assisted by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

1975 - The Rescue Helicopter commenced operation with an all-volunteer crew of local surf lifesavers flying a Bell 47 helicopter.

1978 - A Bell Jet Ranger was leased to provide even greater rescue and patient care.

1981 - With the assistance of additional funds from sponsors and support from the community, the Service commenced 24 hour a day, year round operations.

1986 - The Service purchased a Bell Long Ranger helicopter equipped with advanced medical and rescue equipment.

1990 - Upgraded to a twin engine Dauphin helicopter.

1993 - Dauphin was damaged beyond repair in a crash near Barrington House on 13 February.

1993 - Bell 412SP helicopter was purchased and modified.

1999 - The newly appointed Health Minister, The Hon Craig Knowles, announced a review of Aeromedical Services in NSW highlighting that viable regional services could be established in northern NSW.

2000 - The Service, in partnership with local politicians, the community and business leaders, launched the New England North West Service on Friday 25 August 2000.

2007 - The NENW Bell 407 crash landed near Warialda enroute to a motor vehicle accident. Despite extensive damage to the helicopter the pilot, crewmen and medical staff were all unharmed. The single engine Bell 407 engine was replaced with a twin-engine BK117. 2011 - The Bell 412EP was the fourth aircraft put into service.

2013 - Minister for Health Co-ordinated appointed of Ernest and Young to carry out a review of the aeromedical retrieval services.

2013 - Discussions began with Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter about the aeromedical reform.

2014 - On 19 December the Minister for Health announced Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service as the Northern contract provider of aeromedical services in NSW.

2014 - NSW Ambulance released tender calling for providers in both the North and South.

2014 - Doctors joined paramedics on board every primary mission, undertaken by the Hunter-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

2014 - Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service committed to tendering for Northern NSW.

2014 - Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter formulate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to amalgamate if successful in winning the Northern NSW contract with NSW Ambulance.

2015 - 40th Anniversary celebrations took place.

2015 - Implementation of the new contract commenced.

2016 - Expanded service into the Central West.

2016 - Pilots and crew carried out AgustaWestland AW139 Aeromedical Helicopter training in Italy.

2016 - Base upgrades began in Tamworth and new base construction began in Belmont and Lismore.

2016 - Four AgustaWestland AW139 Aeromedical Helicopters arrived in Australia.

2016 - Entity name changed to: Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Ltd.

2017 - The Service began the operation of four new AgustaWestland AW139 Aeromedical Helicopters from three bases at Tamworth Airport, Lake Macquarie Airport and Lismore Airport.

2018 - Approaching 2,000 life saving missions each year across our three bases throughout Northern NSW