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Chiltern brigade 140th anniversary
Clear skies and sunshine heralded Saturday 2 November as a perfect day for Chiltern Fire Brigade to celebrate its 140th anniversary in style. Crowds gathered up and down Conness Street, excited in anticipation as many old vehicles from past eras were marshaled ready to begin the procession.
At 11 am the Scots School Albury Pipe Band led a spectacular parade of over 30 CFA fire fighting vehicles, and personnel. The parade depicted a timeline of fire fighting equipment and vehicles used from the brigade's inception in 1873, beginning under the leadership of Captain TS Marshall (who was later Chief Officer of the Country Fire Brigades Board), through to the present day.
Chiltern Junior Brigade members followed the pipe band and embody the brigade’s strong future. Chiltern Fire Brigade is most thankful to the many neighbouring brigades and the Fire Services Museum, Melbourne for providing their magnificent old trucks and equipment and participating in the parade.
First came the ‘Bucket Brigade’ with fire fighters in costume from the 1800s carrying an original 26-foot ladder, old canvass fire beaters and buckets. The 1890s showcased the Lady Don manual fire pump pulled on a horse-drawn dray. Chiltern’s old restored wooden-spoked hose reel, used for training and running competitions since the early 1900s was proudly featured.
Chiltern Fire Brigade Captain, Gary Richardson, dressed as a captain from the beginning of the 20th century and rode out in style on horseback with his daughter Charlotte, riding side-saddle on a pony by his side.
Beautiful old fire trucks were on display all shiny and red with brass fittings glistening, including a 1927 Chevrolet tanker from Rutherglen, a restored 1938 Dodge pumper from Wangaratta, and a 1947 Austin tanker from Melbourne.
Vintage cars and people dressed in period costume were interspersed in the procession including and many past captains and past and present fire brigade members.
The parade culminated at Lake Anderson, and provided a sensational static display of vehicles for the public. The lake surrounds provided an idyllic setting for children’s activities, including a smoke-house, face-painting and a mini fire truck. Community information was available from the CFA Community Education Van. The brigade’s history was on display at the Senior Citizens Hall as well as talks given by Rex Fuge. The brigade would like to thank Chiltern Lions and Red Cross for their fantastic support in catering for lunch and afternoon tea.
The brigade was delighted to have CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson as guest of honour. Euan Ferguson presented members with service awards at a ceremony beside Lake Anderson.
Of special note were CFA Life Memberships awarded to four past captains and long serving ‘living treasures’ of Chiltern Brigade. On the day Jack Bagley, Charlie Martin and Bill Hotson received their awards, while Bob Peake was unable to attend due to illness. The National Medal was awarded to Lt. Andrew Walls for his outstanding service to CFA over many years.
The day was followed by a magnificent 140th Anniversary Ball held at Chiltern Memorial Hall.