Firefighting brothers Mark and Ashley Turnham lead the way

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Brothers Ashley and Mark Turnham are based at two different brigades, but have one thing in common – they both bring extensive knowledge and dedication to CFA.


Ashley, who will soon be Ararat Fire Brigade Captain, joined CFA as a Junior volunteer in 2002 at The Basin Fire Brigade after a friend who had joined told him about it. He thought it sounded like fun so he gave it a go and hasn’t looked back since.

Ashley moved to Boronia Fire Brigade for two years before returning to The Basin for 12 years, and has now spent the past four years at Ararat Fire Brigade in the west of the state.

His brother Mark, Mount Eliza Fire Brigade Captain, joined a few years after Ashley in September 2006. He believed being a CFA volunteer would give him something to do outside of work after serving eight years in the Navy.

Volunteering has brought both Ashley and Mark lots of memorable moments, some good, and some not so good.

“We don’t do it for the thanks, but when someone is having a bad day, and they say thanks and give you a hug, it gives you a good feeling,” Ashley said.

“I remember driving down the main street of Ararat just after the fires in 2024 and getting waves and claps from members of the public. It bought tears to my eyes.”

Mark vividly remembers Black Saturday and the following days after that during the February 2009 bushfires.

One of the most memorable incidents was a couple of years ago on Christmas day, when Ararat brigade was called to an oven fire in the morning. I wore breathing apparatus and went inside the house with another member. Luckily for the occupant the fire had already gone out. I then remember when I exited the house seeing my brother Mark standing there with his firefighting gear on operating the fire pump,” Mark said.

“I’ve also been to many calls alongside my brother and I always enjoy responding with him,” Ashley said.

Mark believes the most rewarding part of volunteering is helping others in need and raising awareness that CFA are volunteers, as not many people know they are 100 per cent volunteers in Mt Eliza brigade.

Ashley and Mark aren’t the only Turnhams who are volunteers. Ashley’s wife, Michelle, is an Ararat brigade member and son Bailey is an Ararat Junior member.

With Ashley about to join Mark in a leadership position, the two will support each other professionally, being able to learn from each other and their respective brigades.


Submitted by Sydney Pollok