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Stamp of approval for Chesney Vale brigade

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Letters travelling the world will bear the face of a Chesney Vale CFA volunteer, thanks to a new stamp issue recently released by Australia Post.

Stamp of approval for Chesney Vale brigade

A portrait of Chesney Vale brigade’s Colin Hooke, which has been painted on the side of a local water tank, is now featured as one of four stamps celebrating regional artwork on water towers around Australia.

Chesney Vale Captain Russell Ellis said it was fantastic for a member of the brigade to gain such national, and possibly international, exposure.

“Colin got a little bit of ribbing for his fame early on, but other than that he’s been pretty quiet about it.

“It’s really good for locals to get that sort of recognition and this portrait of Colin, with its inclusion in the stamp issue, is a wonderful way to showcase the brigade.”

The mural was painted in 2016 as part of a popular street art festival in Benalla and the surrounding region, with Australian artist Guido van Helton commissioned for the work

“It was an opportunity that Winton Wetlands took to use the tank as a canvas and allow the artist to paint some locals,” said Captain Ellis.

“Everyone thought it was great that the artist chose CFA as a subject.”

Chesney Vale brigade captain, Russell Ellis

While Colin’s is the only portrait to be featured on a stamp, there are another two CFA volunteers who also appear on different sides of the tank, including Danielle Spokes from Winton Brigade and Robert Green from Taminick Brigade.

Captain Ellis said a version of the stamp will be most likely be displayed at the station and thanked Australia Post for including this particular artwork in the stamp issue, which also helps to recognise the work of Colin and the Chesney Vale brigade.

“We’re a small rural brigade but we’ve got a good core of active members. We’re building our reputation in the district every day and hopefully this will help to generate even more interest in the brigade.”