Dorothy Hennessy Emergency Services Youth Scholarship 2021

In 2018, in conjunction with the Rotary Clubs & Districts of NSW, The Hon Troy Grant MP, former Minister for Emergency Services announced the creation of a $1,000 Dorothy Hennessy Emergency Services Youth scholarship for a volunteer aged up to 25 for training and educational materials or equipment. Commissioners from the Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, NSW RFS, NSW SES, and the VRA Rescue NSW will each nominate an outstanding individual for consideration of the scholarship. A Rotary NSW panel will determine the most deserving candidate.

2021 Finalists

Surf Life Saving NSW

WILLIAM DAVISON – Surf Lifesaver – Coogee

Will Davison became a NSW Surf Lifesaver seven years ago at age 13 and has committed himself totally to it, gaining his Bronze Medallion and numerous other awards such as Advanced Resuscitation. As well as normal lifesaving duties, Will has volunteered as an Offshore Rescue Crewman and represented his club at state level. He trains new lifesavers, helps others develop and has gone well beyond his local community at Coogee to help develop lifesaving across the state, participating in the inaugural seven-day NSW Lifesaving Development Camp. He is now a second-year Engineering and Commerce student at the University of NSW and predictably enough is doing well at that too.

VRA Rescue NSW

JOCK SMITH – Rescue Operator – Narrabri

When three people became casualties on a ledge 20 metres below the summit of Mt Kaputar in northern NSW, in driving rain and wind, the 95-degree slope too steep for multiple rescuers and not steep enough for a clean lift by rope, Jock Smith, then five year rescue operator with the Narrabri VRA now VRA Rescue NSW, had the job in front him. As the rope operator, he escorted an ambulance paramedic to the ledge and retrieved the most seriously injured person. Over five hours, he went to the ledge multiple times got everyone out. But though exhausted, Jock was so committed, he would undoubtedly have gone back again.

VRA Rescue NSW

TALIYA SMITH – Trainee with Squad – Narooma

So often the only good coming from disaster is the people it inspires. This is the case of Taliya Smith, who joined the NSW VRA Narooma Rescue Squad now VRA Rescue NSW last year in the aftermath of the devastating 2019-20 bushfires. Taliya helped her community rebuild and underwent training to cope with further threats. Long an advocate for indigenous mental health, Taliya want to contribute to her community’s resilience through participation in regional health and rescue initiatives. Taliya, 19, has already been recognised with a NAIDOC award for leadership and responsibility. She wants to do more training in support of indigenous mental health initiatives and learn about Aboriginal fire management.


BLAKE WAYENBERG – Rescue Operator – Albury

Blake Wayenberg, a Nursing & Paramedic student double degree at Charles Sturt University, can be well said to be motivated. Based at Albury, he has been with the Albury NSW Volunteer Rescue Association now VRA Rescue NSW for eight months, he is a member with St John Albury and is also a member of the Thurgoona Rural Fire Service. A lot has happened to give him practice. When the 2019/20 bushfires came, he was part of an RFS strike team and when at home assisted VRA Rescue NSW in logistics. And he has seen how badly things can go. When a motorcyclist suffered a fatal accident he tired with CPR and first aid to save his life.