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Hoddles Creek Fire Brigade 70th birthday
On Saturday 8 October 2016, Hoddles Creek Fire Brigade celebrated its 70th birthday in fine style at Two Brookes Bar in Seville.
By Carolyn Cole-Sinclair
Special guests included Operations Officer Don Tomkins and CFA Board Member and Warburton Captain Hazel Clothier.
At the birthday celebrations, stand up comedian Marty Fields (son of the late Maurie Fields) entertained the 50 guests in attendance.
In addition to the brigade’s birthday celebrations, two of the brigade’s long-standing members (Captain Renelle Verkes and Firefighter Tony Pagels) received 20-year long-service medals, and 1st Lieutenant Leonie Turner was presented with the National Service Medal.
Situated in District 13, Hoddles Creek is 72km east of Melbourne. The locality was named after Robert Hoddle who surveyed the area in 1844, and the town developed thanks to the Victorian Gold Rush in the 1860s. Sir Harrie Massey, the renowned mathematical physicist spent his early years in Hoddles Creek from 1908.
Following a public meeting in the Hoddles Creek Hall on 27 April 1946, it was decided to establish a fire brigade in Hoddles Creek. The brigade was first registered by CFA on 1 October 1946.
The brigade’s first home was on private property belonging to a local farmer I the 1950’s. The first official brigade building on the present site was supplied by CFA and erected by the members in 1966.
With an area covering approximately 87 square kilometres of dense bush and scrub, the brigade’s role in those early days was to combat bush and structural fires with extremely limited resources and local volunteers.
Among the original members was Mr George Worlley who was elected as 1st Lieutenant.
From its inaugural 10 members, the brigade has grown with the community and now has approximately 30 active members, including George Worlley’s son Robert, and granddaughter Jessica, who have carried on the Worlley name in the brigade for over 71 years.
Now an intensive cultivation and rural living area, the brigade’s responses are predominantly to bush and structural firefighting and road crash incidents. In addition, they have a focus on community service, catering to ensure fire fighters across the district are fed nutritious meals in the initial stages of prolonged incidents, and the juniors program.
Today’s trucks are a far cry from the brigade’s first vehicle which was a privately-owned tray truck, which remained in operation until an ex-Army Blitz complete with water tank arrived from CFA around 1950. In 1988, the brigade purchased its first brigade-owned vehicle. Today, the brigade hosts a CFA supplied 2.4D tanker, an ultralight 4WD, and a brigade owned medium tanker.