Ask the volunteers from Eaglehawk Fire Brigade what it means to be a part of the brigade and they’ll tell you, it’s more than just firefighting.
Eaglehawk Fire Brigade and its volunteers have been serving the community for 150 years, since 1873. To commemorate this milestone, they have developed a video to showcase their history and recruit new members.
Former brigade Captain Eric Smith, a CFA veteran with over 50 years’ experience under his belt, said brigade life gets into your blood.
“I originally joined the Stawell Fire Brigade in 1965 and was employed as a Regional Officer with CFA for 20 years,” Eric said. “After retiring in 1997, I signed up as a volunteer with Eaglehawk brigade the very next day.
“The brigade plays an important role in the community and becomes part of your family, so from my point of view, it’s worth getting involved”.
To mark their 150-year anniversary, festivities kicked off with an informal gathering of current and past volunteers at the station on Peg Leg Road, followed by a formal awards dinner.
The brigade has called the station on Peg Leg Road home since it was officially opened in December 1900, after relocating from its former timber station on Sailors Gully Road.
The current site has undergone redevelopments over the years to accommodate the growing brigade and house modern firefighting appliances.
Like many stations, Eaglehawk Fire Station is adorned with the usual antique memorabilia such as trophies, silverware, and certificates of achievement. However, a special piece of memorabilia is a comp running reel used over the years before the brigade purchased a new one. Eaglehawk has the last known horsedrawn fire reels to be used in Victoria, on the ceiling of the engine bay of the original brick station. This harness belonged to a horse called ‘Jack’, who was known to bolt if the doors were opened too early during a fire call.
Brigade Captain Kylie Davis said the anniversary isn’t tied to a particular date and celebrations will continue all year long, with a community open day planned for later in the year, reflecting the brigade's commitment to putting the community at the centre of everything they do.
“It’s the brigades 150th year serving the community and the community deserve to celebrate this milestone just as much as brigade members do, because the community are our reason for being part of the brigade,” Kylie said.
“We welcome anyone interested in joining to come along and new members can expect lots of support from their fellow volunteers, including a mentor to help them navigate their new role.
“As a brigade, we are proud of how far we’ve come and look forward to continuing to serve the community for many more years to come.”