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Bravery awards for Kinglake fire

Published 20/02/2012

Ascher Derwent, volunteer - Kinglake SES Unit

Three SES volunteers from Kinglake were honoured with bravery awards from the Royal Humane Society of Australasia in Melbourne on Friday, 17 February 2012.

Medal recipients include:

  • Desmond Deas, Team Leader – Kinglake SES Unit
  • Ascher Derwent, volunteer – Kinglake SES Unit
  • Michele Moore, volunteer – Kinglake SES Unit

A total of nine SES volunteers were among 90 award recipients recognised for acts of courage in helping fellow citizens.

Kinglake rescue – February 2009 fires

Mr Deas and Ms Moore spent much of the first few hours of the fires in the only surviving SES vehicle, a Toyota 4WD twin cab ute trying to contact as many community members as possible and informing them of the imminent threat. They encountered fire a number of times and in fact had the back seat of their vehicle catch fire as they were driving around trying to help and warn people. They both spent much time during Saturday night and early Sunday morning on the roads looking for community members who had become stranded during the fire. Unfortunately they had to retreat some times because of the conditions, leaving people behind.

When the fires hit the Kinglake township Mr Derwent was the only Kinglake SES volunteer in the immediate area. During the fires he worked at the Kinglake CFA shed along with many other community members. He had the task of moving all the vehicles that had been left outside the CFA shed by the community members who had arrived looking for refuge. This job was done during the heat of the firestorm with fire all around hum. Moving the vehicles enabled the CFA tankers to get close enough to spray water on the shed that the community was using as a refuge.

For more information about the ceremony and other award recipients, please visit