After countless rescues in Port Phillip Bay, possibly the biggest job of Leading Senior Constable Mark Hurwood’s career was evacuating people from the bushfire-ravaged Mallacoota area in January.
“We were the first crew to be deployed in the vessel up there,“ he said of his call to the coastal town of Mallacoota where hundreds of people were trapped.
“I was rung at home and literally had the grandchildren bouncing on the bed and said, ’Sorry, I’ve got to go to work.’
“I went and seven days later I came home.
“It was a bit surreal, actually. At two o’clock in the afternoon it should be nice and sunny and warm in that time of the year but we had pitch black, smoke – at times we’d have a bit of ember falling down over us. It was weird times.“
Leading Senior Constable Hurwood reflected on some of his most memorable jobs last week as he retired from Victoria Police after 41 years.
He started his career in traffic before trading fast cars for fast boats, spending the past 32 years with the Water Police based at Williamstown.
Another job he recalls was a 28-hour rescue in Bass Strait, after an an elderly gentleman on a small 36-foot yacht put out a distress call.
“We were doing shifts of two up on the bridge and two down having a rest,“ Leading Senior Constable Hurwood said.
He met his wife, Beth, when they were both going through the Victoria Police Academy, and their son Chris is a senior constable with Somerville Highway Patrol.
Leading Senior Constable Hurwood said leaving the force after more than four decades felt surreal.
“It doesn’t feel real yet,“ he said.
“Victoria Police is a great job. It’s secure, particularly in times like now.
“As a career, it’s offered a lot to me. I’ve seen a lot, I’ve seen all of Victoria.
“I’ve had the fortune to be on the vessel replacement program, which saw me travelling to New Zealand and Western Australia with the boats.“
His plans for retirement are to “sleep in“, he jokes, before elaborating.
“Golf, and get a caravan, and travelling around Australia – and enjoying my two grandchildren.“