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CFA commemorates its fallen firefighters

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The firefighters who lost their lives while serving their communities were remembered and honoured today at the CFA Annual State Memorial Service.

CFA commemorates its fallen firefighters

Photos courtesy Blair Dellemijn

More than 250 people attended the service, held at Healesville RACV Club in Healesville, to pay tribute to the 79 firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Watch the service

The service began with the Welcome to Country by the Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation, followed by the presentation and placing of the Colours.

Readings were provided by CFA Board Member Lynda Hamilton; VFBV Board Member Jan Cleary; Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp APM; VFBV State Councillor and Captain of Dromana Fire Brigade Timothy Desmond JP; Captain of Toolangi Fire Brigade Dawn Hartog; and Executive Director Volunteers and Strategy John Haynes.

Melbourne singer Benjamin Clark sang Advance Australia Fair, Amazing Grace and The Lord Is My Shepherd.

This year’s memorial service also looked back on the 1939 fires which led to the establishment of CFA, the 1943 Tarrawingee fire where 10 firefighters lost their lives and the devastating fires of 1969 where two volunteers perished. Scroll down for video

CFA Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Officer Gavin Freeman AFSM and Captain of Healesville Fire Brigade Graeme Bates performed the Roll of Honour.

Hoddles Creek Junior Fire Brigade and The Basin Junior Fire Brigade assisted in the laying of the wreaths. 

Gavin said the service was a time for solace and reflection of our members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“This annual service is an important day for our members and the affected families to gather to recognise the extraordinary dedication of those CFA members who died while protecting the community,” he said.

“We also honour the personal sacrifices and commitment our firefighters make each and every day.

“We will continue to carry the memories and heroism of those fallen firefighters and reflect on their legacy that lives on in CFA.

“This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the February 2009 bushfires which claimed the lives of 173 people, including one firefighter, and destroyed thousands of homes across the state.

“We reflect on the incredible courage and bravery shown by CFA members, their families and the affected communities across the state as a result of those devastating fires.”

Ceremonial banners embroidered with each firefighter’s name are taken to every Memorial Service to represent the names commemorated on the Memorial wall 

The CFA Annual State Memorial service is held on the Sunday closest to International Firefighters’ Day and St Florian’s Day (4 May). St Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters.

The service has been held in various centres around Victoria since 1998. Once the new Victorian Emergency Services Memorial is built at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne’s CBD, it will become host to some of CFA’s future Annual State Memorial Services.

For more information about the firefighters memorial or to see the Honour Roll, please visit the CFA website.