Recognition of WICEN

Over the years, WICEN have received accolades from organisations for which we have provided service. These are collected here.

October 1993 Victorian Floods | 1994 Senate Report on Disaster Management | Y2K Transition Activation | Victorian Unit Mertiorious Service Award | 2003 Bogong Bushfires | 2009 “Black Saturday” Bushfires | 2010 Emergency Services Medal

2010 Emergency Services Medal

Mark Thomas Dods ESM

Awarded in the 2010 Australia Day Honours List

“Awarded for his distinguished and entirely voluntary service to WICEN (Vic.) Inc. for over twenty years during which time he was instrumental in WICEN’s transition from an ad-hoc organisation to an Incorporated body. Mr. Mark Thomas Dods was a member of the committee that established WICEN as a permanent organisation, and later coordinated WICEN’s Incorporation in 1990, becoming its first President.

As President for three years and a member of the Committee of Management for another six, Mr. Dods provided stable, long term leadership enabling the establishment of WICEN’s structures, procedures and practices.

Mr. Dods served in every major WICEN activation between his first exercise in 1982 and the Bogong fires of 2003. These activations included the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, the North Eastern Victorian floods of 1993 and three tours of duty during the Bogong fires.

His leadership during the preparations for the Year 2000 transition and during the transition itself led to the establishment of a permanent Victoria-wide backup radio network which is still part of the Victorian Emergency Response Plan.”

2009 Black Saturday Bushfires

WICEN Was activated for the “Black Saturday” Bushfires in February 2009. Four WICEN members were awarded the “National Emergency Medal” for their service during the activation: John Brown VK3JJB, Mark A. Dods VK3XMU, Fred Storey VK3JM, and Peter Weeks VK3YZP. (Peter also served with the SES during the fires.)

In recognition of WICEN’s service during the Black Saturday fires, the Wireless Institute of Australia presented Peter Weeks, VK3YZP (WICEN Commander in Alexandra) and Mark A. Dods, VK3XMU (Administration) with President’s Commendations.

2003 Bogong Bushfires

On Sunday January 19th 2003, WICEN (Vic.) Inc. was activated to assist with operating DSE communications equipment at the fires burning in North East Victoria

Victorian Unit Mertiorious Service Award

On Tuesday May 23rd 2000, Gordon Cornell VK3FGC, the WICEN (Vic.) Inc. State Coordinator, John Kerr VK3BAF, Secretary and Mark T. Dods VK3ZR, Public Officer attended a reception at Parliament House for the presentation of the Victorian Unit Meritorious Service Award. There were 24 organisations nominated for this award. Of those, four were awarded citations, and WICEN (Vic.) Inc. won the award outright. The plaque pictured below was presented to the State Coordinator. The award citation reads:


Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network


This award is presented to the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network in recognition of the designing, installing and operating of a communications network to provide contingency communications for emergency response co-ordination leading up to the year 2000.

Year 2000 and the associated “‘Millennium Bug’ posed very significant risks to the safety of persons in the State and the State’s infrastructure” and particularly to essential services.

Despite the short time frames, WICEN designed and installed a redundant communications system that will be an ongoing part of the State’s emergency management infrastructure.

This award acknowledges WICEN’s special contribution to the community for its involvement in the year 2000 and the associated ‘Millennium Bug’ risks.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services
Co-ordinator in Chief of Emergency Services
22 MAY 2000

Y2K Transition Activation

A Letter of Thanks was received from the Chief Commissioner of Police re our efforts on New Years Eve with Y2K. It read:


I am writing to express my appreciation for the significant contribution made by WICEN volunteers in the installation and staffing of a back up state-wide radio network for emergency response coordination purposes.

The year 2000 and the associated “Millenium Bug” posed significant risks to the community and the state’s infrastructure, particularly the essential services. If some predictions of widespread failures to electricity and telecommunications networks had been realised, the community would have been exposed to significant risks.

I am advised that WICEN members devoted a great deal of their time to designing communications corridors, installation of antennae, repeaters and cabling at various coordination centres.

The dedication of volunteers who contribute their time and skill to promoting community safety often heartens me. WICEN volunteers’ diligence in testing the network and their preparedness to operate it over the year 2000 transition period is exemplary.

I would be grateful if you would convey my appreciation, and that of my staff who have emergency response responsibilities, to all the WICEN members who contributed to the development or operation of the radio network.

I look forward to a continuing relationship between WICEN and Victoria Police.

Yours Sincerely
M.N.(Neil) Comrie

1994 Senate Report on Disaster Management


WICEN is a volunteer group of radio amateurs with communications and information transfer skills and equipment. This organisation can be called upon by response and recovery agencies and the general community in times of emergency. WICEN’s major role is the coordination of the response of the general amateur radio service in times of need.

Inspector Mackey of the Victoria Police acknowledged that WICEN performs a major role in the provision of back-up communication in the event of disasters in the state:

WICEN is our main back-up for communications within this State. If we were to lose telecommunications, our normal radio frequencies become overloaded. WICEN basically becomes our one and only back-up frequency until we perhaps get assistance from Defence, but still they would stay as our number one backup.

Despite WICEN’s acknowledged expertise, it faces a number of major problems including a lack of regular contact with agencies which may wish to use its expertise during an emergency; incompatability of communications and computer equipment between government agaencies and a lack of sufficient finance to tender for redundant government computer equipment.

“Disaster Management” p 68
Senate Standing Committee on Industry, Science, Technology, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure
ISBN 0 642 20377 6

October 1993 Victorian Floods

In October 1993, North Central Victoria experienced substantial flooding, and WICEN (Vic.) Inc. was activated and deployed operators to Benalla, Sepparton and Echuca to transfer NRIS evacuee registration information to Melbourne. The letters below were received following the activation:


19th October, 1993

Mr. David Tilson
Australian Disaster Management Information Network
1st Floor
4 Riverside Quay

Dear Mr. Tilson,


I would like to place on record both my personal and the VICSES’ sincere appreciation for WICEN’s assistance, co-operation and commitment during the recent floods in northern Victoria. Whilst this service is the combat agency for response to floods in Victoria, in an event of this magnitude it was impossible for us to be self sufficient, and even though we know and accept that Victoria’s arrangements are based upon agencies helping each other in times of disaster, nevertheless it is pleasing to know that there is such a willingness by other agencies to provide meaningful assistance when it is really needed.

Your support at local, regional and state level certainly contributed in no small measure to our completing a successful operation in which, thankfully, no lives were lost and injuries were few and minor. Whilst one hopes that there will be no further events of this nature we all know that this is unlikely to be the case and it is with a great deal of pleasure that I look forward in confidence to your ongoing support the next time it is needed.

Thank you again for your assistance and please pass on to all those who helped my sincere thanks for their contribution.

Kind Regards,

Rhys Maggs


9 November 1993

Mr. Graeme Tremellen
State President
P.O. Box 106

Dear Graeme,

I write to express both the Police Force’s and my personal gratitude for the excellent work done by W.I.C.E.N. members during the recent floods in Northern Victoria.

The Displan Officer, Ken MACKEY, informs me that although not the role they would prefer to perform i.e. Voice Communications, W.I.C.E.N. members provided valuable assistance in the data transfer of registration information.

The effort by W.I.C.E.N. volunteers, and the fact they are volunteers who provide their own time and resources, is to be highly commended as in such circumstances it would have been extremely difficult to complete the registration of evacuees by any other method.

Please pass on my sincere gratitude to all your people involved and be assured that W.I.C.E.N. will continue to have a vital role in emergency response communications within Victoria.

Yours Sincerely,