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Berringama welcomes a new fire station
It was during the afternoon on Friday the 20th March 2015, when CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson officially opened the Berringama Fire Station, in the presence of Bill Tilley MLA., District 24 Operations Manager Paul King, Brigade members and the community.
Berringama is a small rural community on the Murray Valley Highway, as you drive towards Corryong from Tallangatta. It is a farming community of just over 100 people, of which 34 are volunteer members of the Berringama Fire Brigade.
The Berringama community warmly welcomed the Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and his wife Kristin to open the new fire station and to present CFA service medals representing over 900 years’ service to the CFA, Berringama Brigade and the community.
The new A2 rural fire station was built by Yackandandah Engineering and funded by the State Government Rural Fire Stations program. The station has been built on the Berringama recreation reserve adjacent to the only other existing community building, the Berringama Hall, that has long been disused. The station has a twin bay motor room, toilet and kitchen facilities, external drying rack, turnout provisions for volunteers, and a 15,000 litre water tank that feeds the station amenities and will allow the Brigade to fill the tanker without going off site to a nearby creek.
After the Chief Officer met with the members of the Berringama Fire Brigade, Operations Manager Paul King commenced the formal proceedings by welcoming everyone to the opening ceremony, and set the agenda for the afternoon. OM Paul King spoke about the journey it took about having the new station built, and how it was not that long ago, Berringama’s previous station had a dirt floor. He then introduced the local member Bill Tilley MLA who thanked all those for their service to the community and how important infrastructure like the new Fire Station is to the community.
Bill Tilley MLA introduced Chief Officer Euan Ferguson who thanked everyone for making Kristin and himself welcome to what is a historic day in Berringama. The Chief detailed that the Berringama fire station was one of many built in small communities as part of the Rural Fire Stations Program. He emphasised that the new station is a community asset for the whole community, and encouraged all to use it as such, not only as a Fire Station, but also for other groups needing a meeting place.
The Chief Officer then reflected on the history of the Berringama Fire Brigade, and how it has developed over the years along with the family names which have had continual association with the Brigade and CFA. He made a special mention of retired Captain Robert (Bob) Coulston who has served for over 65 years with 37 years continuous service as Captain before stepping down in 2002.
The Chief Officer then invited Captain Ewan Carkeek and Bill Tilley MLA to assist him with officially opening the Fire Station.
Captain Carkeek thanked everyone for attending the opening and supporting Berringama in getting a new station, including the staff at District 24 and the Government at the time.
The Chief Officer and Operations Manager Paul King then presented 23 service medals. Of the service medals awarded, 3 members received 50 year awards, 1 member received a 55 year award, 2 members achieving 60 years, and 2 members, VFF Ken Coulston and Ex Captain Robert (Bob) Coulston being recognised for over 65 years’ service.
The afternoon concluded with an afternoon tea with many of the volunteers sharing experiences of fires gone by and the personalities and equipment that has been associated with the Brigade over many years.