George Taylor and Ray Rennie, members of Tatura Fire Brigade's Tuesday crew
Tatura Fire Brigade has the Tuesday crew.
Made up of several retirees, every Tuesday the crew meet at the brigade to undertake a range of duties including equipment maintenance, handiwork and cleaning requirements throughout the station.
Stalwarts George Taylor and Ray Rennie were on hand to proudly show off the new and bigger Tatura Fire Station. It features three motor-room bays to house the Tatura pumper, Tatura tanker and Tatura Forward Command Vehicle (FCV).
There are also spacious turnout rooms, bigger meeting areas, PAD space to train and plenty of storage, as well as a local command facility for use by the Greater Shepparton City catchment of brigades.
The only item they can’t show off is the siren, which can’t be aired due to the close vicinity of the Tatura racecourse.
When Tatura relocated from the Casey Street location to O’Reilly Road, it was the Tuesday Crew that managed the clean-up, transfer of items and moving into the new $2million digs.
“When I retired, I could have become involved in any of the other groups such as Men’s Shed, Rotary, and such, but I have always been here,” George said.
“I reckon when you’ve been here for more than five years, you’re here for good.”
A handy gardener, Ray said every Tuesday you can find something to do.
All of Ray’s family is involved with Tatura, which included his late wife Bev. Both volunteers acknowledged they’re part of a generation in which talking about your feelings or showing weakness was not something men naturally did.
However, the value of the Tuesday Crew was evident when Bev died. Ray said the involvement of his boys, and the relationships his entire family have within the brigade, helped him through the grieving process.
The support and camaraderie befit the definition of crew – a group of people who work closely together.
“When the pager goes other members know that members of the Tuesday crew will be on hand. We don’t all go out on the call but we’re available to help with the clean-up and pack down,” George said.
“That allows those members with young families and work commitments, to get back home for a rest earlier knowing that we have things in hand here.”
One constant aspect of the Tatura Fire Brigade has been the running team. This is what drew George to the brigade. As an electrician, fellow members knew George would be quick up the ladder, so the recruitment drive kicked in.
Ray’s son Martin is a State Champion in Ladder and has coached his own kids in the Tatura juniors.
When requested to bowl a hose, George played down his skills only to execute a roll straighter than an arrow from Robin Hood. As mates do, Ray was swift to quip that `he only rolls it that straight when a camera is on him’.
Both acknowledged the challenge for Tatura, like many brigades, was attracting and retaining members. With the larger facility, the brigade now has more room to get together as a whole.
George said all the arms of the brigade, whether running team, operational, auxiliary or community engagement, now all felt as though they are members of Tatura Fire Brigade.
“We were in a building where we couldn’t attract members but now, with this new station available to use and the work of our community liaison people, especially in schools, we maintain a profile in the local area,” George said.
Tatura 4th Lieutenant Amber-Jade Wymer, who nominated Tatura to profile, said the extent of experience to draw on from fellow members made the learning experience easier, which was one of the reasons why Tatura was a great place to volunteer.
For nearly 130 years Tatura Fire Brigade has been there for the local community. Current members remain updated with training to manage incidents locally and away, as well as stay fit to ensure Tatura remains a competitive force at the Championships.
All the youngsters not only the future operational members, but budding recruits to remain a team as they join the Tuesday Crew.