Mooroopna 4th Lieutenant Natalie Dobbyn is preparing for this weekend's State Championships
Mooroopna Fire Brigade 4th Lieutenant Natalie Dobbyn was just 11 years old when she joined her brigade’s running team.
Spurred on by her firefighter parents, Natalie joined as soon as she could.
“We grew up around the station because of my parents, and I started running as soon as I turned 11,” Natalie said. “That was in 2007 and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Running turned to firefighting, with Natalie itching to jump on the back of a fire truck.
“As soon as I turned 18, I did my Minimum Skills Training [now General Firefighter] and have been actively firefighting since then. I’m now 4th Lieutenant, but I really have grown up surrounded by the fire brigade.”
This weekend’s State Championships will be Natalie’s second time competing as a senior at a state level.
Natalie said she loves that Championships show a different side to CFA.
“It’s such a good environment,” she said. “It’s a completely different sport compared to football or soccer, and you can make some really good friends.
“It’s also great to see the competitive side of CFA. We don’t just put out fires – it’s a whole sport for us.”
Natalie said her favourite event isn’t a common one among her peers.
“I’m one of the weird ones and I really enjoy the Marshall event [laughs].
“A lot of people like seeing the water coming out of the hose, but there’s something about the Marshall that I really love.”
The Marshall event is a traditional event first introduced into urban championships in the 1890s by a former Chief Officer TS Marshall. The event was designed to assist in the training of volunteers in the coupling and uncoupling of hoses, setting hydrants and fixing branches without using any water in the quickest time possible.
Natalie said she’d encourage anyone to take part in future Championship events – as a participant or a spectator.
“If you’re looking to join, do it! It’s a whole bunch of fun. You can even just come and watch – it’s a really unique event and I love it.”
The 2023 State Championships continue at the Mooroopna Recreation Reserve this weekend – 25 and 26 March.