News & Media

Samaria's 60 years of service

By: Barry O'Connor

Category: Honours & Awards

  2.50 PM 15 September, 2013


Location: District 16 News, District 23 News

Views: 2198

The Samaria Rural Fire Brigade was formally registered by the CFA on 14 September 1953.

To mark this milestone, former and current volunteers, along with their families and friends, assembled at Moorngag Hall to commemorate the event on Saturday 14 September 2013.

The brigade was originally formed at a meeting held in Moorngag Hall, so it was only fitting that the members gather to celebrate the diamond jubilee at the same venue. Service awards for current serving members were presented by Region 23 Acting Operations Manager John Bigham. John stated that he was indeed honoured to be able to participate in the event, and to be able to present two 60-year service awards to Wally Daws and Ted Exton, who were founding members of the brigade.

Whilst Ted is no longer an operational firefighter, he remains an active member of the community and the brigade. Wally is the longest serving, and still operational, firefighter in the brigade.

Benalla & District Group Officer Jim Renkin spoke glowingly of the commitment of the volunteers of Samaria brigade, who could always be relied on to respond to an incident and get the job done efficiently and effectively.

The support given to the brigade by the Ladies Auxiliary was acknowledged, by allowing them to have the night off. The Swanpool Catering Group provided an excellent supper for the evening, with the tables groaning under the weight of assorted delights which have become legendary within the district.

Also launched at the event was the book ‘184 Samaritans’. Dr. Bill Sykes launched the book and praised the community for achieving such a milestone. The book was written by Barry O’Connor as a gift to the brigade on achieving 60 years of service to the community. The book pays tribute to the 184 past and present members and their families, who have provided fire fighting services to the Samaria Valley.

The book took three years of research, which was supported by volunteer members of the Benalla Family Research Group. During the research, two maps were discovered. These were drawn of Lima Station in 1847 and are believed to be the oldest known maps of the Broken River area. The book includes images of both maps, which is the first time that these maps have been published. The book is not only an extensive history of the brigade, but also of Broken River Valley. Much of the research completed for the book throws a different light on some of the history previously recorded and offers alternate explanations to some of our well-known place names.

The 164 page book is not commercially available, but can be purchased for $30 plus $11.70 packing and postage by contacting the brigade secretary on 5768 2400. All profits from book sales will go the Samaria Rural Fire Brigade to support the volunteers in their continued service to the community.

Pictured are former captains. From left: Nick Taylor, Ernie Daws, Daryl Horsburgh, Leo Ginnivan and current Captain Adrian Dowell.

Last Updated: 16 September 2013