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Phillip Island celebrates 75 years
Sunday 2 December 2012 marked 75 years to the day of the formation of the Phillip Island brigade. Originally a rural brigade, it was reclassified as an urban brigade on 28 April 1999.
By Scott Hamilton
Over 80 guests helped celebrate the milestone. Special guests on the day included Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and his wife Kristin, District 8 Operations Officer Peter Lucas, VFBV District 8 President John Watson and Bass Coast Group Officer Damien O’Connor.
The celebrations included an open house at the fire station and a celebration lunch at the Phillip Island Golf Club.
Past and present members attended and the fellowship and old stories of the last 75 years were shared in a friendly relaxed atmosphere. Local service clubs including Rotary, Lions, RSL and the Phillip Island Patchworkers were also in attendance and thanked for their generous and ongoing support of the brigade.
Representatives from Ambulance Victoria and SES also helped in the celebrations. Due to its isolation, all of Phillip Island's emergency services work really well together and rely on each other’s skills and professionalism.
Tributes to the brigade and its members were made by Ex Captain John Watson and Group Officer Damien O’Connor. Phillip Island Captain Rodney Beale gave a short report on the brigade and its activities over the last 75 years. Ex Captain Ray Champion compiled a PowerPoint presentation of the brigade and its history, which ran throughout the day.
The Chief commended the Brigade on reaching 75 years and commented on the wonderful history and partnerships that the Phillip Island brigade has forged with its community. The Chief was impressed with the length of service that was being rewarded on the day. In all, 305 years of service was recognised.
The brigade presented CFA Long Service Awards to its members, including five-year certificates to Rodney Barford, Trevor Evans, Stephen Mason and Gavan Pye; a 10-year Long Service Award to Lino Drazzi; 15 -year Long Service Award to Catherine Anderson; and a 25-year Long Service Award to Garry Young.
Operations Officer Peter Lucas read out the members' service histories and paid special tribute to each member's contributions.
The brigade presented CFA Honorary Life Membership and Long Service Awards to Ex Captain Ray Champion for 35 Years, 40 years service to Captain Rodney Beale, Firefighter Geoffrey Burrell and Ex Captain Rodney Patton, 50 years service to Ex Captain Alan Warren and a fantastic 60 years service to Ex Captain Arthur Murdoch.
Phillip Island brigade presented Honorary Life memberships to Firefighter Christopher Justice and Ex Captain Rodney Patton.
The Brigade has two prestigious and highly sought after awards. This year's winners were Firefighter Robin Adair for the Artie Murdoch Firefighter of the Year award and Firefighter Joshua Smith for the Captain's Recruit of the Year award.
All members were thrilled to receive their awards from Chief Officer Ferguson. We have been very blessed to have the Chief visit us twice in just over a month - he also attended the MotoGP. Thank you Chief and Kristin for being part of our wonderful day.
Lieutenant Rod Patton presented some special awards on the day including the coveted “truck stuffers” award. For the fourth year in a row it has been won by a member whose first name starts with the letter “R”. This year it was Captain Rodney Beale. This year another award was given, the “Sand Trap Award” to firefighter Robin Adair for getting bogged on the beach whilst responding to a call! Lots of fun and laughter and a couple of red faces.
Captain Beale presented commemorative brigade fob watches to three of the brigade's longest serving members: Geoffrey Burrell, Alan Warren and Artie Murdoch. In appreciation of their efforts in organising the festivities, Secretary Peta Gapper and Treasurer Sue Waterton were presented with a large potted Firestar Rose each and BASO Scott Hamilton was presented with a fob watch as a token of appreciation by the brigade for his ongoing support.
The Phillip Island Brigade presented Firestar roses to each of the award winners as a permanent reminder of the day.
Phillip Island has been a great breeding ground over the years for CFA Career staff. Members David Murdoch, Julian Seri and Andrew Smith have all become career firefighters and former BASO Brett Myers is also a career firefighter. The brigade is especially proud of this achievement. We were very fortunate to have David, Andrew and Brett in attendance for the 75th celebrations.
The Phillip Island Fire Brigade protects over two-thirds of the Island with support from its neighbours San Remo. The brigade works in close collaboration with the Phillip Island Nature Parks who are responsible for such iconic locations as the Koala Park and Penguin Parade. Phillip Island is home to many major events including MotoGP, V8 Supercars, Tough Mudder, Pyramid Rock Festival and almost 3 million visitors annually. The Brigade responds to around 180 calls a year and currently has 47 members on its books.
The brigade commissioned a local sign artist to reproduce the existing station mural as part of its 75th celebrations and the new mural was completed and mounted in the station on Friday 30 November. The members and the community have been rapt with the quality of the mural, which depicts the history of the brigade over the last 75 years.
The day was capped off with the cutting of a magnificent chocolate mud cake which was enjoyed by all the members
Photo by Phillip Island Brigade Member Simon Hartley