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Tahara brigades unite
After two years of discussions, Tahara and Tahara West brigades in District 4’s Merino Group have amalgamated.
By Leith Hillard
Tahara West brigade formed in 1948. Its last captain, Rod Nolte, confessed that his previous brigade “was basically Noltes”. He’s now second lieutenant of the strengthened Tahara brigade which has two stations and a truck in each.
“It’s a good news story,” said Rod. “We were a small brigade with a small brigade area while the farms got bigger as we moved away from soldier settlement. We turned out about three or four times a year to grass and scrub fires.
“Our members were ageing and there wasn’t much chance to get new members and fill all the positions in a brigade management team [BMT]. It was the same two or three people filling all the roles.”
Following the Section 29, the brigade faced being closed down with their truck removed from the group.
“We didn’t want that,” continued Rod. “We could bury our heads in the sand or get proactive and talk about viable options for us and the group. We had discussions with Group Officer Wayne Munro and the Volunteer Sustainability team.”
There were three options: stay as they were (which, everyone agreed, was no option); share the BMT with another brigade; or amalgamate with either Tahara or another brigade.
“Amalgamation would mean keeping two sheds and two trucks, pulling two areas together, filling all the BMT positions and sharing the workload. Win, win, win.
“Tahara was happy to take us on but it was an involved process. We sat down with members in their homes and had community meetings in both brigade areas. Both communities were happy to accept change and move forward and the submission went to the [CFA] Board.
“It’s a terrific outcome which hasn’t been forced on anyone. We’ve had ample opportunity to own the change and demonstrate that, if you keep a level head, you can get a great result for your community.”
In the photo, left to right: Geoff Nolte, Devan Robertson, Ian Robertson, Vivian Cox, Gordon Nolte, Kevin Nolte, Rod Nolte, Barry Hay
Photo by Victoria Pullen