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  Comment Banner Dec 2009

The Noel Hodges Collection

While many people in the SA emergency services were saddened to hear of the passing of Noel Hodges OAM late last year, his remarkable legacy will now remain intact for future generations.

First joining the SA Civil Defence Organisation in January 1963, Noel spent 22 years as a volunteer with the Enfield SES until he was appointed the SES Divisional Officer for Metro North, a position he held until he retired from the SES in 2005.

His 42 years' service ranks him as one of South Australia's longest serving emergency service career members.

What is less well known about Noel was that he spent much of his life and many thousands of dollars putting together his own emergency management library, which he housed in two sheds in his backyard.

He spent most of his leisure time cataloguing newly acquired books, journals and articles or painstakingly sifting through Adelaide and SA country newspapers looking for articles on the SES, floods, storms, fires, earthquakes and any other hazard or incident that could loosely fall into the broad topic of emergency management.

With Noel's passing in December last year, his wife Deirdre became concerned as to what would become of The Noel Hodges Collection.

Chas Keys, a former Deputy Chief Officer of the NSW SES who had visited the collection some years previously became aware that the collection was looking for a home and approached Macquarie University in Sydney to see if it would be of interest.

The rest, as they say, is history. Chas and Lucinda Coates, an emergency management researcher from the university, travelled to Adelaide in July to see the collection. Suitably impressed, they recommended to the university that it accept the collection for its new library, which is due to open in 2011.

Packed up in August, the collection was transported to Lucinda's Sydney home where it will be sorted and catalogued in time for the opening of the new library. All material from Noel's remarkable collection will be acknowledged as having come from The Noel Hodges Collection.

Bob Stevenson, the SES State Emergency Management Planning Officer, said everyone who had seen the collection would be delighted it had found a good home where it will be properly looked after and used to help the future development of Australian emergency management.

Deidre and Lucinda - Comment

Deirdre Hodges (left) accepting a Certificate of Appreciation from Lucinda Coates (representing Macquarie University), for the donation of the Noel Hodges Collection to the university.

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