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CFA Sunday at the remotest brigade
French Island was the scene of a great celebration on Sunday. French Island brigade and its community celebrated CFA Sunday and the brigade’s 70th birthday.
French Island is arguably the most remote CFA brigade, not in terms of distance but because the only access to the Island is via passenger ferry, vehicular barge or helicopter.
Despite being only just over 60 kilometres from Melbourne CBD, the island doesn’t have electricity, mains waters or sealed roads. There are no medical services and the Island is in fact an unincorporated area, which means it doesn’t have a council to provide services for the residents or the brigade. The island is about 170 square kilometres.
The brigade has 42 members, though many of them are absentee land owners. Around two-thirds of the Island is national park and protected by Parks Victoria rangers. The brigade and Parks Vic work very closely to protect this unique environment. The brigade has a 3.4D tanker supported by Parks Vic with a 4WD Tanker, two slip-ons and a fast attack tractor.
French Island is vital to the koala population. It has the world’s most dense and disease-free colony of koalas and koalas are exported every year from French Island to the rest of Australia. There are also many unique species of plant and animals, including several species of snake only found on French Island.
With all this uniqueness, the locals have a sense of pride in French Island. Whilst remote, they are a vital part of Bass Coast Group and Southern Metropolitan region.
As part of CFA Sunday celebrations, the brigade conducted their Section 29 inspection and conducted a community consultation meeting for the Community Information Guide.
The brigade opened its doors to the community and had several visitors during the day. The visitors were very interested in the services CFA’s community educators provided and the Home Bushfire Assessment Service (HBAS) team will be busy visiting the local residents. Also, Fire Safe Kids has been requested for the New Year.
The highlight of the day was the cutting of a cake to start the celebrations of the brigade’s 70th anniversary, followed by a community sausage sizzle. The brigade is planning a 70th birthday celebration dinner in the New Year and is looking for any old members who would like to attend.
By Scott Hamilton
Photos taken on CFA Sunday:
- Members of French Island brigade outside the station with the 70th birthday cake
- French Island Members celebrate 70 years with the cutting of birthday mud cake!
- Brigade members discussing the Community Information Guide that's being developed for French Island.
- The French Island community turned out to support CFA Sunday and their local brigade.