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Warburton's 100-year celebration
Warburton Fire Brigade’s Centenary Dinner to celebrate 100 years of community service was held on Saturday night. The evening was also used to recognise past and present members, and give inspiration for the future.
By Kath Gannaway, Mail News Group
The dinner, at Oscars on the Yarra, was one of a number of events that will mark the milestone, including the history of the brigade exhibition at the Warburton Art Centre, HelmART, the Community Open Day and the Lantern Parade later this month.
The dinner was dedicated to past and present members and, as Captain Hazel Clothier put it, “their patient families”.
There were some milestones and significant contributions recognised, including a Brigade Life Membership for Mike Lazarus, and a gold key to a brigade vehicle named in his honour for former captain and brigade president Barry Marshall.
Invited guests included CFA Board Chair Claire Higgins and Chief Officer Euan Ferguson, along with regional CFA representatives, Yarra Ranges O’Shannassy Ward representative Cr Jim Child and captains of neighbouring brigades.
Claire Higgins said the dinner was an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice, bravery and courage that had brought together the Warburton Fire Brigade each and every time over the past 100 years when the community had needed them.
“Time and time again our volunteers put their lives on the line showing courage and bravery to keep our community safe,” she said.
She also acknowledged the brigade’s active role in the community from bushfire information nights, fundraising for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal, emergency planning groups, the role they play in events such as Anzac Day and events that are part of the 100-year celebration.
Giving special thanks to Captain Clothier, as one of only 13 captains in the history of the brigade, and President Marshall on 60 years of service including 22 years as captain, she said it was a reflection of great commitment that had produced a brigade built on a culture of teamwork and supporting each other.
Euan Ferguson spoke of CFA’s increasingly diverse culture and he noted that one-third of the brigade’s members were women – including the captain.
He spoke of the huge responsibility that Upper Yarra brigades have in such a high-risk bushfire environment and of the vision of the people who stepped up to form the brigade 100 years ago and who had served over the decades. He thanked the current members and captain on behalf of CFA.
“CFA has an important role and we rely on you,” he said. “It's incredibly important work and it's appreciated.”
He said the community also has great respect for its CFA volunteers.
“The community looks up to you with tremendous respect because they look to you as leaders in the community,” he said.
All photos courtesy of Mail News Group