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Big push for big fill
Newstead Fire Brigade has been known for its occasional spontaneous use of tradition... sometimes at a ceremony.
On one such occasion back in 2002, Newstead stalwart and brigade auxiliary Secretary Maureen Heagney dramatically produced a seemingly insignificant bottle from deep within her handbag. She tightly clutched the little container, then turned to the intrigued onlooking crowd while releasing the lid, then flamboyantly splashed the entire contents of the bottle over the brigade's new vehicle, proclaiming "and too all those who use this fire truck, you are now considered blessed and you will remain safe".
The content of the little container was a measure of precious holy water, from the French Pyrenees town of Lourdes, which Maureen had been saving for a very special occasion.
Newstead Brigade recently acquired a big fill pump, the product of considerable brigade and group effort. The unit was officially handed over at a formal ceremony at Newstead Fire Station on 7 May 2017.
The special occasion saw lots of food eaten and numerous speeches given. Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards handed the vehicle's keys to Newstead brigade Captain Douglas Richardson, while brigade President Craig Hepburn performed the task of MC.
CFA Board member Peter Shaw and District 2 Operations Manager Steve Smith also attended and took the opportunity to present service awards to Newstead brigade auxiiary and operational members.
Newstead’s $136,000 Toyota Land Cruiser big fill project was funded primarily through the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) and was complemented with support funds from Newstead’s hard working brigade auxiliary. The Newstead brigade auxiliary was formed in 1981 as a result of catastrophic local fires and the need of providing more efficient operational equipment to the brigade.
Newstead is located at the junction of Pyrenees Hwy and Loddon River in North Central Victoria and is part of Strathloddon Group. The district is surrounded by numerous Crown bushlands and its townships are subject to seasonal flooding.
Over the years the Newstead auxiliary has raised close to $100,000 for brigade equipment, much of which has come from the auxiliary's regular and popular Newstead Fire Brigade Dance.
Newstead’s big fill official handover ended with a spontaneous old American and European firefighters' tradition, known as ‘pushing in’. It’s a simple ceremony where firefighters symbolically acknowledge another era, fire brigade horses and the uncoupling of apparatus. Brigade members push a newly-commissioned firefighting vehicle back into the fire station with one single team effort. It's considered to bring good luck and safe operations to a fire brigade and its members.
Newstead brigade member Phillip Reece made the comment on the day, ”With all this pushing, it’s just as well we only get one new vehicle every 10 years”.