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Preserving fire services history
Members of CFA and the broader community interested in restoring old firefighting equipment and trucks are welcome to join the Central Victorian Fire Services Preservation Society (CVFSPS).
By Leith Hillard
President Tim Rosewall has been a member of Bendigo Fire Brigade for 38 years, so he’s not far from the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) at Huntly where the society’s treasures are stored.
“Sandhurst Fire Brigade was the original Bendigo,” said Tim, “and our main drawcard is their Shand Mason, a horse-drawn [15-metre extension] ladder from 1891. It was manufactured in England and shipped over to be pulled mostly by Rocket who was a tough-looking farm horse.
“It was used in the Bendigo CBD until the 1940s. The manufacturer built it really well and took pride in their work so it lasted a long time.”
The society also holds a 1926 Graham pumper built in Warracknabeal before going into service in Lilydale; Greenvale’s 1940s Bedford tanker which was converted from an army water tank; and the original Long Gully reel from 1900. On permanent loan is a 1975 International front-mounted pumper, the last one in service in District 2, while two of Bendigo’s Austin pumpers are still used now in parades.
And it’s not all things on wheels: helmets, uniforms and badges also make up the collection. A number of members have their own collections which further boost the society’s exhibits.
“We allow brigades around Victoria to display our collection,” continued Tim, “and they’re also displayed in Huntly by appointment.”
The society formed in 1992 and has 31 members. While most are local, others are from as far afield as Jeparit and Shepparton. They are both volunteers and CFA staff members with an interest in fixing things and preserving fire services history for the next generation.