Eulogy for Inspector Bill Brand - Mark Arneil

Inspector Mark Arneil, current Commander of the Search & Rescue Squad.

On behalf of Victoria Police I would like to acknowledge Inspector William (Bill) John BRAND’s distinguished service to the Victorian community across the 32 years of his policing career and offer my condolences to his family. 

I would like to quickly outline his career within Victoria Police, then more importantly, reflect upon his legacy.

Bill commenced his career with Victoria Police in 1955 after serving for five years as a Patrol Officer in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands – dangerous, exciting work that attracted thousands of young Australian men looking for adventure.   

1955 also saw the second major unsuccessful search conducted in recent years for a missing person in Victoria’s alpine region.     High levels of public interest led to improvements in the State’s search and rescue capability.   With Victoria Police determined by government to be the lead agency, the Chief Commissioner of the day, Major Ge…

The Bill Brand Story - Geoffrey Frost

Geoffrey Frost – Former Senior Sergeant Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad 1987-1998

The Bill Brand story is easy to tell but there’s a lot of ground [history] to cover.  I had a lot of material to condense.

I will start in 1976 when I joined the squad after completing the Diving Aqualung Diving Course, Bill was then the Senior Sergeant in charge of the squad, soon to be Inspector.

In reflection, by the time Bill Brand was promoted to Inspector in [1978], he was without  Peer in Australia and I am confident in saying he probably had no Peer in the World.

He was Mister Search and Rescue.

His leadership incomparable, no one came close.

The great breadth and depth of his operational experience is unsurpassed, unmatched and legendary.

He had an uncanny ability to precisely match the situation with a measured response of the right resources in the right place to win the day.   This was stuff not in any text books.

He was not a proponent of throwing hoards of untrained and ill equipped…

Eulogy to Bill Brand - Duncan Brookes

Duncan Brookes - Bush Search and Rescue Victoria

Thank you to the Brand family for the opportunity to pay tribute to Bill on behalf of the bushwalkers; “The Bushies”.

Who are the bushies?  In the 1970s and 80s Bushies was shorthand for the volunteer bushwalkers’ search and rescue group, which were then and still are, called upon by the Squad to assist in bush searches.  Now called Bush Search and Rescue or BSAR.  That connection with Bill is obvious.

But there was much more to Bill’s relationship with the bushwalking community.  By the late 1960’s what is now called outdoor education was taking off in schools.  Trips were sometimes led by inexperienced or poorly trained teachers.  Bill, in his role, was only too aware of the near misses and some tragedies.

A new, innovative Bushwalking Leadership Course was established, aimed primarily at teachers.  Bill was on the managing Board from its inception.  This outstanding course built around experience-based learning and robust mentoring r…