News & Media

CFA Australia Day honours

By: CFA Media

Category: Honours & Awards

  5.53 PM 26 January, 2013


Location: General

Views: 4238

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson has extended his congratulations to CFA members recognised in the 2013 Australia Day Honours list.

As Mr Ferguson visited hundreds of firefighters who continue to work on going fires in Gippsland and the high country, he said it was timely to reflect on the incredible efforts of CFA members in protecting lives and property around the State.

Among recipients of this year’s honours is Bunyip stalwart and life member Joe Cumming who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (General Division) for services to the community.

Manager of Executive Support James Fox and Westmere Group Officer David Blackburn have been recognised with Australian Fire Service Medals.

“Both CFA and the wider community can be very proud of the achievements of these individuals,” Mr Ferguson said.

“The honours bestowed today reflect the dedication of every CFA member, and with many still battling fires today it’s a timely reminder of the outstanding work all our people do.”

Joe Cumming

Joe Cumming officially joined Bunyip fire brigade in 1946 at the age of 17, but he admits he had been hanging the fire station long before that.

He says the local young fellows “played football, played around at the fire station and played late together”.

“There wasn’t exactly a hell of a lot else to do in Bunyip back then,” he quips.

In the early years the brigade didn’t even have a truck, instead it relied on an old reel and later a Godiver trailer pump was hooked up behind the nearest vehicle.

Joe was elected captain in 1960, a position he held for 31 years when, as he puts it, safety rules and regulations started to make the job too hard.

Now 82 and with a life membership under his belt, he still “puts his 2 cents in” at brigade meetings, whether the younger members “like it or not”.

When asked the obligatory question about what it feels like to be an Australia Day honours recipient, Joe replied in typically matter of fact style.

“I feel no different than I did yesterday.”

The OAM will sit along side a swag of medals and bars including 65 years service medal and a National Medal.

James Fox

Mr Fox has been an outstanding contributor to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria and to the community for over 20 years. His demonstrated leadership in the area of community safety should not be underestimated.

Driving significant change, he actively developed a Community Safety ethos within the CFA and promoted a paradigm shift through widespread CFA engagement and establishment of key relationships with partnership agencies.

Mr Fox chartered a course that enabled the CFA to evolve from response dominated approaches, to those that embrace 'Prevention and Preparedness' in community safety.

He instigated a Risk Management philosophy, commencing in the Outer Metropolitan North West encompassing four designated metropolitan growth areas.

Mr Fox's vision incorporated projected road networks, residential and commercial developments and planning (involving future fire stations, firefighters, support staff, enhancements to appliances and fire services) for emerging community risks.

He had key involvement in the development of strategic mapping data of current and projected growth in the designated growth areas.

He also worked tirelessly preparing and presenting detailed evidence to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission focused on Land Use Planning and Bushfire Preparedness at the CFA. Mr Fox's diligent focus on Community Safety has positioned the CFA as a leading agency in Emergency Management.

David Blackburn

CFA Group Officer David Blackburn's outstanding contribution over more than 30 years has considerably improved the safety of the community in western Victoria through his outstanding leadership, innovation and commitment.

He has provided distinguished and dedicated leadership to the Westmere Group of Fire Brigades, Country Fire Authority (CFA), along with key innovations to fire service operations within Fire and Emergency Management.

Across Victoria, Mr Blackburn's contribution has had a marked effect, specifically improving local training and preparedness for emergencies and through his development and coordination of protocols for the use of privately owned (farmers) firefighting tankers.

Mr Blackburn has also greatly improved the capacity of fire operations and communications through more effective utilisation of CFA radio networks and listening sets between CFA and the community.

Mr William Maurice ROUSE AFSM

Since joining the Metropolitan Board (MFB) in 1989, Mr Rouse has consistently provided the highest level of dedication, reliability, diplomacy and uncompromising attention to technical detail in all forms of technical rope rescue work across all Victoria's emergency services.

For the majority of his distinguished career, he has dedicated himself to the development and implementation of expert operation of technical rescue systems, a dedication which he has placed before his own desire to advance in rank.

He is unquestionably the subject matter expert in this field and his interpersonal skills, combined with a highly developed understanding of volunteer and career emergency service cultures, has created a strong rope rescue team approach that can operate at an emergency alongside rescue workers from other agencies.

In addition to his daily operational firefighting duties, Mr Rouse has specialised as an operator, instructor and assessor for Urban Search and Rescue, High Angle Rescue, Heavy Rescue and Confined Space Rescue.

He has also been a serving member of the Stawell State Emergency Service (SES) since 2004 and a Country Fire Authority volunteer since 2006.

Last Updated: 29 January 2013