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Tallangatta's new facility
Tallangatta CFA and SES members were joined by families, friends, brigade colleagues, and visiting dignitaries to savour the moment when their brand new combined headquarters building in Wagara Street was impressively declared open on Saturday, July 26th. Story by Graeme Aldrich, Tallangatta Fire Brigade.
Bill Tilley, Member for Benambra, took care of the official honours in opening the facility.
Combined entrance procession - Lead by SES Controller, Jean Blackwell, and Fire Brigade captain, Andrew Chalmers, Unit and Brigade members marched side by side into their new home welcomed by the applause from the large crowd of visitors present for the occasion.
In the large SES vehicle bay, normally home to their ‘fleet’ of vehicles, trailer and flood boat, only a few of the 160 chairs set in place were not taken, while many visitors chose to view the proceedings from a standing position – all up close to 200 people were present.
Formal welcome - CFA Operations Manager Paul King opened proceedings and welcomed official guests including Towong Shire Mayor, Cr Mary Fraser, Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley, SES Regional Manager, Keith O’Brien, and several ranking members of both services.
Mr. Tilley congratulated both services on their efforts over a long period, operating and persevering in less than ideal conditions while waiting for their long held dream to be finally realized.
He then called upon Captain Andrew Chalmers and Controller Jean Blackwell to unveil the plaque, officially opening the joint Tallangatta Fire Brigade and SES Unit facility.
Andrew and Jean were then invited to speak on behalf of their services, with Jean enlisting the aid of former controller Bruce Butler and 30 year veteran member, Mary Aldrich.
Captain Andrew Chalmers said that the new, state of the art facility would serve the needs of the wider community both now and into the future."
Andrew went on to traced the history of the Fire Brigade from its beginnings in the old town.
"As far back as 1902 moves were afoot to form a Fire Brigade in Tallangatta, but the large expense involved in providing an adequate water supply prevented much progress until a Public Meeting petitioned the Shire Council and in 1909 the Tallangatta Fire Brigade was finally established and the building of a Fire Station commenced in 1914.
According to Chief Officer Marshall’s inspection, made in July 1916 – “The fire station is a substantially erected brick building, but is somewhat marred by the dangerous ‘get-away’.
An ugly gutter runs in front of the station, and the bridge in front of it is not only too small, but it is also badly placed. A tree also growing in front of the building, combined with the poor bridge, makes the work of getting out with appliances a menace tosafety.”
Andrew commented that thankfully none of these issues appear to be present in our new facility!
He continued by saying ‘When the town moved a new station was built in 1957, but in recent years it became increasingly obvious that a new station was essential if we were to continue to provide effective fire protection, suppression and education for the township and beyond. The result is what you see around you today.
National Medal Presentation - At the conclusion of these addresses, MC, CFA Operations Manager Paul King, called upon CFA Board Member, Michael Tudball, who complemented all concerned regarding the work of the two services in the community and the efforts of those who made the building possible.
Michael then went on to make a formal presentation of the National Medal to Captain Andrew Chalmers.
Inspection and Afternoon Tea - The formal part of the day’s program ended with all those present invited to inspect the building and its facilities and to enjoy a delicious presentation of afternoon tea provided by the Hospitality students from Tallangatta Secondary College.