Australian Cave Rescue Commisssion

This is not an Australian Speleological Federation website. It is intended to facilitate collaboration between people interested in cave rescue.

Australian Cave Rescue Commission

The ACRC is a body directed by the Australian Speleological Federation to support the Federation's aims with respect to cave rescue preparedness.


  • facilitate the provision of cave rescue training to cavers
  • exchange of information and training related to cave rescue


  • facilitating the provision of skills and equipment for cave rescues Australia wide
  • providing a national communications framework for cave rescue organisations
  • encouraging an ethos of minimal impact for cave rescue training and rescues
  • facilitating the establishment of cave rescue organisations in states where such organisations do not exist
  • organising national cave rescue workshops at the Biennial ASF Conferences
  • spreading self-rescue knowledge, skills and attitudes amongst cavers
  • enhancing the first aid skills of cavers
  • establishing relations with overseas cave rescue organisations in nearby countries
  • where cave rescue organisations don't exist, establishing relations with relevant organisations to enable the delivery of assistance and provide education of government bodies and management authorities about cave rescue.

Please remember that each Australian State has its own emergency management arrangements and the ACRC has no statutory responsibilities in any cave rescue incident.


Cavers understand (and value) their activity as including risk. They recognise that rescue from a cave environment is typically very difficult, and beyond the training and resources of most emergency services. They feel a responsibility to support their colleagues in caving.


...are appointed by the ASF based on the likely impact each might have on the ACRC aims.


Members represent the ASF to actively help achieve the aims by, for example:

  • supporting a project or strategy that ACRC has decided;
  • informing ACRC actions

Current members

Ian Collette: has IRATA and SES in his background, and has been doing excellent work "training" the SW WA SES in cave rescue (and coincidentally showing them that the best way to do, or train, cave rescue, is to involve cavers). Ian has been deeply involved improving cave rescue preparedness in WA for many years.

Anna Ekdahl: is a caver, a senior paramedic and has an appetite to work with emergency management bureaucracies to have our voluntary (but highly developed and professional) skills recognised in emergency management plans. She has recently successfully had cave rescue is listed under it's own category with ACRC as a support agency to Police in the Tasmanian Emergency Management Arrangements (TEMA) and is beginning work do the same across the nation.

Richard Harris, OAM: needs no introduction for his recent experiences, but has also been driving cave rescue preparedness, both dry and diving, in SA for many years

Alan Jackson: has trained and supported the development of cave rescue in Tasmania and was among those who were awarded the Professional Commendation Award from the National Search and Rescue Awards in 2018, for the successful Midnight Hole cave rescue.

Al Warild: brought European cave rescue techniques to Australia and has been responsible for most of the training in cave rescue for the last decade or so. His encyclopedic knowledge and rational approach to applying techniques to problems make him as respected in cave rescue as he is as a caver.

and myself, Brian Evans: I’m more of a talker and bringer-of-people-together than an expert, but have been involved in NSW cave rescue since 2013.

Current Priorities

  1. Develop strong links with:
    1. cave rescuers in regions around Australia
    2. emergency services involved in cave rescue around Australia
    3. cave rescuers in other countries
  2. Improve the callout database to include capabilities and rescue specific equipment. Get regional rescue coordinators (and their deputies) familiar with it, and get more members on.
  3. Encourage clubs to appoint a safety/rescue officer and State Councils to provide a forum for such officers to exchange information on training and improve rescue preparedness.
  4. Investigate a national cave emergency response number to more easily place emergency services in touch with relevant cave rescue specialists.
  5. Research how cave rescue preparedness is supported in other countries, and share the research with Australian cave rescuers.