Bernie Fradd stepping down after almost 40 years

Member News image DCO Garry Cook, Bernie Fradd and DCO (West) Brett Boatman


District 16 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Bernie Fradd is about to transition into retirement after almost 40 years in emergency service.


Beginning his career in the police force in Darwin, Bernie moved back to Victoria in 1986 and joined the CFA recruits.   

Of the 12 recruits he started alongside, some remain active members of the CFA, including Andrew McCartney, District 7 Commander Wayne Aylmer and District 22 ACFO Tony Owen.   

Bernie spent three months at Fiskville before joining Boronia as a recruit.   

Throughout his career Bernie experienced life at many different stations, including Doveton, Dandenong, Morwell, Belgrave and Burwood headquarters before settling in Ballarat and becoming District 16 ACFO eight years ago.   

Bernie recalled a huge pharmaceutical factory fire in Doveton and his time working as level three incident controller during Black Saturday as two fires that stood out during his career.   

Bernie said that in his role now he tried to respect other peoples’ experiences and abilities.   

“I look around at the big cropping farmers who know fires, dealing with it on their own farms. Practical experience goes a long way when it comes to fire behaviour. How it happens, how to stop it and the farmers know this,” he said.   

Bernie said he was very lucky working in District 16, and the camaraderie was what he would miss most.   

"The teams I’ve had at District 16 over the journey have been so supportive and all gone the extra mile to support me and the District.  I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything without their expertise, effort and friendship," he said.

“Bit cheesy to say but every day is different. I loved visiting local volunteers and having a chat to them in the shearing shed. It’s those things I will miss.

“All the people I work with are volunteers and they all do it for the best of reasons because there is no one else. Someone needs to do it in the community, and they jump in and do it.”   

In recognition of his service, District 16 held a farewell at Chalambar Golf Club in Ararat last Friday (19 January).   

During the farewell, Deputy Chief Officer West Region Brett Boatman presented Bernie with a CFA retirement certificate and plaque, along with his National Medal second clasp.   

DCO Boatman said Bernie had been the longest serving ACFO for District 16.  

“Over the eight years he led the district he focused heavily on engaging and supporting groups, brigades and members to ensure they had the tools and resources to undertake their tasks,” he said.   

“A particular focus for Bernie was on infrastructure and equipment, particularly innovations to support CFA’s response to declining rural communities.  On behalf of West Region, I wish Bernie well in retirement.”    

Bernie’s next step is holidays then moving to Queensland.   

“I may join a surf lifesaving club, but I want to be the guy in the back cooking the barbie, not up-front making decisions,” he said.

Bernie finishes up this week. 



  • Member News imageFormer and current District 16 staff celebrating Bernie last Friday
  • Member News image Bernie being awarded
Submitted by CFA Media