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Protecting lives for 60 years
A 77-year-old Colac firefighter’s family still worries every time his pager goes off despite his 60 years of firefighting experience.
Story from the Colac Herald
Lindsay McGrath has reflected on his time volunteering with CFA after peers voted him Colac Fire Brigade’s Firefighter of the Year. Lindsay received the award at an awards night where he also received his 60-year CFA service medal.
Lindsay said he joined CFA at Stanhope in 1956, before he and his family moved to Simpson where he was a brigade member for 19 years, and brigade captain for 15. The McGraths farmed dairy cattle at Simpson before moving to Colac, where Lindsay is still an active CFA volunteer.
Lindsay said he was honoured to win Firefighter of the Year for the first time “at his age”, and said he would remain a volunteer “as long as I’m of some use to the brigade. I didn’t think at my age that I’d be in line for anything like that, but it’s an honour to have it.”
Lindsay can still remember his first fire.
“I was working in a grocery shop in Stanhope,” he said. “I had my white grocer’s apron on and I went to a haystack fire. You were there all night and you could imagine how long the white apron lasted.”
Lindsay said his involvement in CFA affected his entire family.
“I still answer my pager at all hours of the night, and a lot of that time, Shirley gets woken up too, because she’s the one that reads the pager of a night,” he said.
“Every time that I go to a fire, even now, my daughters and wife worry, they still do even though they’re married and got their own families. It’s been a worry to them because I’ve been burnt. I went through a heap of logs one day years ago down at Simpson, and three weeks later I was out of hospital.
“But if I didn’t have the family thatI’ve got, I may not have been in it for as
long as I have today. It’s the family, as far as I’m concerned, that keeps me going in it because I think they appreciate the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long.”
Lindsay said he loved CFA and that he could be a part of keeping other families like his own safe.
“There was three of us that did Fire Safe Kids and later on in the afternoon I was in Coles and this little fella came up and thanked me for what we’d done for the day,” he said. “My granddaughter Carla was at the checkout when that kid came up, and she was just blown away to think that a little kid would come up and say that.
“That sort of thing gives you a sort of kick out of doing it.”
Photo supplied by Andrew Bath