Photo: Bruce Rennie took the Captain role 12 months ago and is enjoying his role in leading the brigade
Nestled between Euroa and Murchison in central Victoria, you’ll find Molka – a small community made up of sprawling farmland and just over 30 residents.
For these people, helping their neighbours is a by-product of living in a small, tight-knit farming community like Molka, and the local CFA brigade represents just that.
Molka Fire Brigade was formed and registered in 1937 and currently has 16 members, nine of which are operational firefighters and seven have taken up support roles.
The brigade underwent a change in leadership 12 months ago, with long-serving Captain Neil Seach stepping aside to allow new Captain Bruce Rennie to take the reins and steer the brigade into the future.
Neil grew up local to the area and joined the brigade back in 1981 when he purchased property nearby.
“I was Captain for around 12 years before I decided to step aside last year,” Neil said.
“Bruce and his son Thomas [Rennie] have been very supportive of the brigade, so it was only right that they get the chance to step up into leadership positions.”
Bruce said he is embracing the challenge in his new role.
“After 30 years in the brigade and spending most of it as brigade Secretary, it’s been great to try this out – it’s better than I thought it’d be,” he said.
He said the brigade’s relatively solid membership numbers when compared to the township’s total population is a result of strong community values and generational farmers following family tradition.
“A lot of our members are generational farmers, taking on the family responsibility of working on the farm and therefore the neighbourly responsibility of protecting their community,” he said.
Bruce’s 26-year-old son Thomas is the perfect example of generational brigade membership, having joined the brigade a decade ago now and rising the ranks to now lead the brigade as a 2nd Lieutenant.
“I’ve lived local to the area all my life, growing up on the farm and been around since I was a young bloke,” he said.
“We all help one another out – it’s how it’s always been.”
Neil said the community understands the value in having a local brigade and has embraced it for many decades.
“We’re a small town and a small brigade so I think it’s understood by all residents that we have to keep the brigade operating for our own benefit,” he said.
“It’s a great asset to have an active fire brigade in your local area.”
The brigade recently unveiled its upgraded station with two engine bays, a dedicated turn out room, toilet, kitchenette facilities and perhaps more importantly, electricity and running water.
“The new space and improved amenities will help get people in our area to congregate at the station and use it as a shared venue,” Neil said.
“We’ve always made a habit of inviting any new residents to come along to the station for one of our biannual barbecues to meet everyone.
“This way they can meet their neighbours and understand how the brigade operates which is a way to get them interested in helping us out.”
Neil said his time with CFA has been valued and encourages others to consider giving some of their time to help their community as well.
“I’ve certainly grown with the brigade since I joined four decades ago,” he said.
“I’ve learned a lot in my time with Molka brigade that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
- Photo: Neil Seach stepped aside as Captain last year after 12 years in the leadership role and remains a valued member of the brigade.