Contacts - First Officer Russell Vickers 0433 002 592 - Volunteer Community Educators - Joel Horne 0408 172 281 or Cynon Lowe 041 775 7038
In the early era of settlement in the Wamuran area any bushfire threat was attended to by neighbours and locals as required, with whatever equipment that was at hand. There was little attempt to set up a coordinated fire brigade equipped with modern fire fighting appliances.
During the early 1940’s a bushfire burnt out thousands of acres of bush and farming land on the north-eastern side of Wamuran, and threatened the township itself. In the mid 1940’s a group of local residents got together and formed the original Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade. Syd Childs was elected the Wamuran Rural Fire Chief, and continued in this position until he passed away in 1981.
Syd’s motto was – and still should be – ‘Burn off before being burned out’.
Regular 3 monthly meeting were held and contact was maintained with the State body for maps, rules and regulations, yearly calendars, update of conditions for permits, etc., but it wasn’t until 23rd October 1965 that the Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade was officially formed as part of the local Co-operative. The position of Rural Fire Chief was held by the manager of the Wamuran Co-op after Syd Child’s death in 1981. A number of fire wardens were appointed, local residents scattered throughout the area, and they were allowed to issue fire permits under certain conditions.
During the ‘burn-off’ season from May to September each year, the district would be filled with smoke haze due to selective burn-offs, or hazard reduction as it is now called. Locals were pleased to see this smoke knowing the district would be safer for it. Everyone, including all the brigade members, helped each other and their neighbours with these burn-offs. In case of an emergency the post master/mistress would be contacted and they would then ring all of the brigade members as it was a manual telephone exchange in those days. Even in later years, after the automatic exchange was opened and up to the early 1990’s, the post office was still the chief contact node for the brigade members in an emergency. It worked extremely well!
There were no fire engines, Rural Fire Brigade sheds, 2-way radios, or sirens in those days and people today would probably say it was somewhat like a ‘Dad’s Army’ outfit, but it was extremely efficient using the equipment that was available at the time. Those old spray machines and water trucks hurtled along the dirt roads in any emergency, armed with large water backpacks, buckets, chipping hoes, rakes, flame throwers, hessian bags or anything else that might be needed to control a fire. It was an amazing sight to see them all racing down bumpy, dusty Newlands Road to a house fire in the 1960’s. They came from all directions!
In March 1991, Wamuran Neighbourhood Watch held a public meeting, “Fire Services in Our Community”, with 68 attendees. From this meeting the current Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade was officially formed. Mt. Miketee RFB. was also formed as a result of that meeting.
This is a part extract, edited slightly, from the short history of Wamuran RFB read out at the Official Opening of the Fire Station Annexe on May 8th 2010
“After a fire in the North West part of the district bordering on the Beerburrum Forestry, David Kennedy recognised the need for a trained and effective fire mitigation and response team. David contacted the local Inspector, and in 1990 the Wamuran Mill Paddock RFB was formed to cover what is now the North Western-most area looked after by the current Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade.”
At a meeting on 15th April 1991, the old Wamuran RFB was closed and new brigades formed in the Wamuran Basin area and renamed Wamuran North, and Wamuran South with the D’Aguilar Highway as the boundary, plus the Mt. Miketee RFB due to the uniqueness of that area. An old farm truck, nicknamed “Betsy”, was donated by Jack Scurr and was the first official Wamuran RFB fire truck.
In 1987, after another large fire in the Bellmere Road area, which burned for 3 days and saw the involvement of 7 Rural Fire Brigades and senior staff of the Fire Service, the two brigades were amalgamated into the current Wamuran RFB. In 2001, Wamuran RFB also assumed responsibility for the Mt. Miketee Rural Fire Brigade area and now has responsibility for an area of approximately 100 square kilometres.”
Currently Wamuran RFB has a membership of 43. This includes fire fighters and support personnel. Equipment includes 2 Medium Attack and 1 Light Attack appliances plus other assorted support equipment.
Volunteers and their families are very important to Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade and the local community. A lot of time is required for training and the volunteers are expected to attend fires immediately, without notice and all without pay. Members are also expected to carry out fund raising activities and attend other social and Community activities. Training nights are on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at the RFB Fire Station in Old North Road.
More Volunteers are always welcome. If you are interested please contact Bill Pezdirc on 0409 077 050.
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