Flood Boat Rescue on Albert River, QLD

Taken just after their flood boat rescue

In this episode of the Australian Rescue Podcast, we are going to hear the harrowing story  from QLDSES crew members Chris Holloway, Claire Browning and Jim Ferguson who rescued a family from the roof of their house during the April floods of 2017 south of Brisbane.

It was very early in the morning (3am) when the crew got the call to go and assist a family trapped on a roof somewhere along the Albert River in the Logan region. They were told that “there was no-one else available” to do the job.

It’s a great story of mateship, endurance and of rescue that they won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

These three QLDSES members still regularly train and still go out and do jobs together, but this episode’s chat was probably the first time they’ve all had a chance to sit down and discuss the job at length. 

After the event happened, the quiet achievers were presented with bravery awards from the Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey.

The rescued family was waiting in their house for the crew to arrive. About 10-15 minutes after being brought safety on the shore, the house broke from it’s foundations and floated down the river, as shown the in the (external) video as shown below.

House swept away by flood waters minutes after a family is rescued from roof
The family was sitting on the roof of this house before it floated away.

Watch the video of the house floating away and breaking up (on the ABC News Australia website) (* minor language warning)


Gary Raymond Part 2

People were going about their normal everyday lives, heading in to the city from the Blue Mountains, on their way to Sydney when disaster struck.

Unknown to all those involved, this was never going to be a normal day, a day that would have lasting consequences.

41 years ago today, on January 18th 1977,  the Granville Train Disaster happened, killing 83 and injuring 213.


Last time on the Australian Rescue Podcast, we didn’t have enough time to hear all of Gary Raymond‘s story. In this episode we continue his story and memories from the Granville Train Disaster.

If you missed part one, go back and have a listen to it first for some good background.

In this episode we’ll hear more info about what the conditions of the search and also a real fascinating insight in to what it’s like catching up with survivors.

One of people in the story Gary connected with was Debbie, and you can read more about her story here.


Gary at the memorial site in Granville.

As per the last episode, Gary shares even more of his Christian faith, but as per the previous episode, but as mentioned in the first part of this interview it’s Gary’s story so it’s important to leave it in there, given the fact that he’s also a Chaplain as well.

Even though Gary is very busy, he’s also a Chaplain and therefore has all the time in the world if you need.


If you’d like to contact him, you can do so at his Facebook page via a direct message.

Gary has been to these significant jobs in the past:

• Hilton Hotel Terrorist Bombing – 3 dead & 7 wounded
• Luna Park Ghost Train Fire – 6 children and 1 adult dead
• Granville Train Disaster – 83 dead & 213 injured
• Christmas Day Savoy Hotel Fire, Kings Cross – 15 dead
• Pacific Heights Nursing Home Fire – 16 dead
• Newcastle Earthquake –13 dead & 162 injured & 500,000 buildings damaged
• Sri Lankan Tsunami – 35,000 dead, 1 million homeless 
• Cyclone Larry in North Queensland – winds 200 kph – damage 1 billion dollars
• Thredbo Landslide Disaster – 18 dead – Stewart Diver rescued
• 1140 ton Manly ferry the ‘Collaroy’ ran aground and collided with cliff – 4 injured & 500 rescued from ferry
• Earthquake – Christchurch, New Zealand – 185 dead – 1500 injured

As Gary has been to so many jobs, do you have a favourite you’d like to hear from specifically? 

If you’ve enjoyed hearing these stories from Gary, you can read more stories in a series of books called “Top Cop” that were written by David Nicholas. These can all be purchased from good book stores. These images are linked to the products directly.






Gary Raymond Part 1

In this gripping episode of the Australian Rescue Podcast, we are in for a real treat. We will hear from Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d.) Dip.VET, a retired Police Officer in the Sydney Police force.

You will hear a range of topics, including a brief history of Gary’s life as a volunteer and a professional in first aid as an ambulance officer and in the NSW Police Rescue Squad.

Gary attended thousands of jobs in his career but for this episode we focused on the Granville Train Disaster.


The Granville rail disaster occurred on 18 January 1977 in the Sydney suburb of Granville, Australia. A crowded commuter train traveling from the Blue Mountains to Sydney Central derailed, running into the supports of a road bridge. The bridge came down onto two of the passenger carriages. At the time, 83 people died, more than 210 were injured and 1,300 were affected.

This was the worst rail disaster in Australian history based on loss of life and to this day, many people in the Blue Mountains community bear the scars of the crash.



Even though it was just over 40 years ago, Gary’s memory is still very sharp, and you’ll get to hear him recall details about it almost like it happened last week.

As well as technical details and historic themes, you’ll also hear snippets of how evident Gary’s faith is to him. It’s not scary to listen to, and I felt it important to include, as it helps to capture his story of where and how everything fitted together in his world – including rescue and his faith.

You’ll also hear joyful stories of how Gary has kept in contact with some of the people he has rescued and the outcomes that they have had in life too.

Gary is currently retired and not surprisingly given his story, is a Chaplain to the Police Force Post Trauma Support Groups NSW.

With the amount of stories and jobs he has been to, you won’t want to miss the next time we interview him.

People Mentioned by Gary:

Sgt. Willian ‘Bill’ Fehey

Sgt. Ray Tyson (facebook link)

We had a great chat about many things at the Granville Train Disaster so much, that it’s actually a 2 part show.

I hope you’ll come back for the second part as well.

Images from Blue Mountains City Library www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/library/ 

Preview of what to expect in 2018

There are big plans for this podcast, and the first episode is due in early 2018.

Hopefully you’ll keep in touch and follow us for new episodes as we talk to various rescuers all over Australia.

The first couple of episodes of the Australia Rescue Podcast will feature an absolute bumper of a story, where we’ll be hearing from Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d.) Dip.VET, an officer in the Sydney Police Rescue squad who attended the Granville Train Disaster 41 years ago. We will be hearing insights into the job like we’ve never heard before and some incredible stories of survival as a result of that job and how his life has gone from there.

Gary has a gift for story telling as as such, it’s going to be in two parts, because I couldn’t fit everything in to one show!

Here is a quick snippet of the interview of what you can expect.

Keep this site bookmarked and keep checking back for new episodes.