Westpac Celebrates 50 Years of Partnership with Rescue Services Nationally

8th, March, 2024

Friday 29 September marked 50 years since the first day of operations of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter in Sydney in 1973.

Westpac (then Bank of New South Wales) has been proudly supporting rescue helicopters since that day, making it one of the longest community partnerships in Australia.

The Northern NSW service commenced operations as the Wales Rescue Helicopter two years later, in Newcastle in 1975, with an all-volunteer crew of local surf lifesavers flying during summer weekends.

Rescue helicopter operations on the Far North Coast commenced in 1982, with Surf Life Saving Australia out of the Ballina Surf Life Saving Club. The Service’s expansion into northwest NSW took place in 2000, operating from Tamworth Airport.

Westpac State General Manager, NSW Regional and ACT, Diana Diab said: “The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service has been a beacon of safety for almost five decades, saving numerous lives along the northern NSW coastlines and in our regional communities. At Westpac, we’re proud of reaching this 50-year milestone and eager to continue supporting this enduring community partnership.”

Northern NSW Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Acting CEO James Lawrence applauded the significant national milestone for Westpac. “We’d like to both thank and congratulate Westpac on this achievement,” he said. “Thank you, Westpac, for your generous support of not only our service here in Northern NSW but others like ours right around Australia,” said James.

“We look forward to our own 50-year celebrations in 2025,” James continued. “But in the meantime, we congratulate Westpac on this major milestone in providing rescue services around Australia, an achievement we took the opportunity to acknowledge at each of our local Bases during October.”