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Wooragee CFA Sunday tanker launch
Wooragee Rural Fire Brigade launched a new slip-on tanker at their CFA Sunday event on 24 November 2013 following a one and a half year fundraising effort.
Firefighter Bruce Ray said that the vehicle, a Mazda Bravo BT50 (Turbo diesel 3.2 litre, six speed, 4WD fitted with a DEPI slip-on firefighting unit, full LED lightbar, front & rear LED strobes & LED worklights) was a new build which has yet to be used operationally.
“We have finalised the fitting of the electronics and radio so the vehicle was made operational from the 24th of November onwards,” he said.
This was Wooragee’s first CFA Sunday open day and the brigade was determined to use the opportunity to keep ‘making noise’ in the community, according to Bruce.
“We want this brigade to help keep this community as an enjoyable and safe place to live, along with providing opportunity for community members to get involved and pick up lifetime skills. We’re now
looking at forming a junior brigade to give the juniors a pathway to these skills and to help bolster the brigade into the future,” said Bruce.
The brigade, although small, has established strong links to the community which has allowed it to run some very successful fundraising projects. Wooragee sourced funds for the new slip-on and vehicle from community donations, BBQs and raffles, a CFA VSEP grant and the generous contribution of more than 15 thousand dollars from the Beechworth & District Community Bank Branch, through the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation.
Wooragee Rural FB has 60 operational members and being situated in the granite foothills of the North-East it was recently annexed from the flatland brigades and made part of the new Bogong Group (formed in part with the aim of bringing together brigades based in like terrain).
The brigade has had a fair bit of activity over recent years, including the 2003, 2006, 2009 campaign fires, Hotham Harrietville Fire 2013, Sydney fires 2013, and 26 calls over the last 12 months.
With a patch surrounded by National Park, Crown reserves, private bush and open farming land, and pine plantations, call outs are varied; from bush and grass fires to rescue and motor vehicle accidents, unfortunately common due to the number of main roads passing through the area.
Wooragee also provides response to the urban brigades at Beechworth and Yackandandah and backup to Beechworth for the Beechworth Correctional Centre.
Bruce has just discovered records showing that the brigade was formed back in 1927, making this their 86th year as a formal brigade. He is currently getting some information from a local historian to develop a book on the history of the brigade, and the history of fire post European settlement..
Today, the community is a mix of agricultural, horticultural, lifestyle and vineyards with an ever-increasing population base and if you believe the tales, a resident ghost.
Check out Wooragee Brigade on Facebook.