Following many years of campaigning for a rescue helicopter service for Northern NSW the service was officially launched in Ballina December 1982. In the 35 years since this historic beginning the Service has continued to evolve through the many changes in technology, personnel, operations and fundraising.  

One thing which has been constant is the overwhelming support the rescue helicopter has continued to receive from our community and business sectors. Without this the Service would not have survived and continue to deliver a fast, efficient, free of charge aero-medical service that has now flown over 8,500 missions across our region.



Service commenced at Ballina SLSC, as fifth SLSA service established in Australia with a Hillier UH-12E.


Service permanently relocated to Lismore, with a Bell 206B Jetranger on lease.


SLSA took over Service and provided a replacement Bell Jetranger


Base moved to Lismore Airport on trail basis


Bell Longranger replaced the smaller Bell Jetranger. The current base was occupied for the first time in late


Twin engine Dauphin AS365C helicopter purchased to expand operational responsiveness and capability.


Second Dauphin AS365C purchased and Service commences 24 hour a day operations/ 365 days. Critically, by having a back up aircraft this provided exceptional availability for our Community aero-medical work.


Twin engine Dauphin AS365N helicopter purchased with extended speed range and load capabilities.


Second Dauphin AS365N helicopter purchased to complete 10 year capital re-investment programme. Remaining AS365C is retired from service.


Ambulance Service NSW commenced trial to station paramedics on base during daylight hours. Service commences planning for joint initiative with Department of Health to establish an Australasian College for Emergency Medicine residency at the Base.


First Doctor under Emergency Medicine Residency commences at Base, elevating clinical responsiveness for Service. Since 2009, 6 doctors have undertaken the programme through the NRHRS.


Night Vision Goggle technology introduced to service, increasing Service capability in primary response and search response in poor light conditions.


The Service’s helibase is officially recognised as an ‘Ambulance Base’ with specially trained intensive care paramedics based full time at the base.


The Service officially joins Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Ltd as part of a new 10 year aero medical contract wth the NSW Department of Health, The Lismore operation moves into a new purpose built hanger at the Lismore Airfield and commences flying new state of the art Agusta Westland AW139.