The Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust (LTAT) station will officially become a CFA brigade in its own right following representation from the dedicated community members who’ve protected their land for two decades.
The members are CFA’s only all-Indigenous crew and have proudly, and successfully, responded to incidents within the Trust land, as a satellite station of the nearby Toorloo brigade.
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan has now approved the establishment of an official brigade on the Trust land following representations from the community and in line with the principle of self-determination.
In accordance with the wishes of the local community, an Indigenous name for the new brigade will be determined following engagement with Elders.
“We are proud to be able to announce the formal registration of a CFA brigade at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust during NAIDOC Week which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples,” Chief Officer Heffernan said.
“Through the commitment of a dedicated group of First Nations community members the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust has been protecting this land for many years.
“It is fitting recognition that they will now be officially recognised as a brigade.”
A local CFA crew presence was established in early 2000s by a group of First Nations women who agreed to be trained as firefighters following a series of blazes on the former Lake Tyers Mission in East Gippsland.
Over the past two decades, the members have been responding to incidents on the land as a satellite station of the Toorloo Brigade. They will now have all leadership and management decisions for firefighting operations.
The co-founders of the original crew are thrilled they will be recognised as an independent brigade.
“We know and understand the fire risk on our land and to be finally recognised as our own CFA brigade is really exciting,” Captain Rhonda Thorpe said. “This realises the goal that we set out to achieve many years ago.”
“Finally. We are proud to have been able to lead the way for this to occur and for our brigade to be a standalone brigade in its own right.” Nina Mullett said.
“It’s fantastic and we’re so pleased about this decision because it means that we will lead and manage decisions about our brigade on our own country, which is something we have wanted to do for many years,” Charmaine Sellings said.
CFA is committed to supporting, and collaborating with, First Nations peoples and ensuring that their stories and cultural traditions are recognised.