Group General Manager - Support Services Kylee Bates, Springhurst's Brian Dunne, Harvey Benton, Kevin Atteridge and ACFO Rod Railton
Stalwart of the Springhurst community, Brian Dunne, has been recognised for his incredible 68 years of service as a CFA member, when he was awarded a National Medal and five Clasps at the Springhurst Awards night last week.
The National Medal is awarded for 15 years of diligent long service to the community in hazardous circumstances, including in times of emergency and national disaster, in direct protection of life and property. Each clasp awarded thereafter recognises a decade of service.
Brian, who started at the brigade in 1955 at just age 12, followed the footsteps of his father who was secretary of the brigade for many years.
Unbeknown to Brian, his family were working in cahoots in the background ahead of the awards night, and it wasn’t until his daughter arrived home from Melbourne that he got suspicious.
“It was a bit of a surprise. I was told to be there for a presentation and not to wear shorts, but I didn’t know what was going on,” Brian said.
Springhurst Captain Stuart Maxwell said Brian was overcome with the appreciation to be honoured by the brigade and describes his close friend as the ultimate work horse.
“He is a loveable kind of guy who will do anything for anybody. Just a champion bloke, with a champion family,” Stuart said.
“I think it’s important that we recognise those who might not have been a captain or in a leadership role, but instead who gave such significant time and contribution to their brigade for many years.
“He was our trusty, reliable teammate who was just always there.”
While Brian was 1st, 4th and 5th Lieutenant over the years, perhaps the brigade’s most interesting memory about Brian was his purchase and use of an old Austin tanker that he’d respond to incidents with. He bought the truck at a Ballarat auction for $2000 in 1986 from Oxley Fire Brigade.
Living on 1500 acres just 7km from the station, it came as no surprise to any of his fellow volunteers that Brian would arrive at the fireground with his beloved tanker.
“When there were fires out that way, it was almost always that the old Austin would get there before we did,” Stuart said.
“Brian would be fully clothed in his yellows, and he’d have the Austin there ready to help wherever he could.
“They’ve still got it today as a water tanker on their property.”
While Brian entrenched himself within the brigade for more than six decades, his fondest memories were attending and running the Brigade Championships every year and working on the fires alongside his team.
“I really enjoyed everything. But we would go interstate for the Championships and the kids came along, so it was good to have them there too,” Brian said.
“When there was a fire, and I found out about it, I always used to attend.
“They used to burn off along the highway a lot, and there was two of us that would help put the smoke out. It was always entertaining; we enjoyed our time and that was the main thing.
With just 190 people currently residing in the town of Springhurst, it seems not much has changed since Brian’s time, with the brigade just as community-minded now as it was then.
“There was always such a strong bond between everyone at the brigade, we had good people involved, good captains, and we just pulled together to go and get after the fires.” Brian said.
Liz Dunne, Brian’s wife, is not only his biggest support, but also a fellow member of the brigade and has been secretary of the hall committee for the last 45 years.
“Liz has been an amazing support to the brigade through the women’s auxiliary and has been catering for probably as many years as Brian has been enrolled,” Stuart said.
“She too, has played a pivotal role within the brigade and the Springhurst community.
“She is famous for her sponge cakes, and I can absolutely vouch for them.”
Brigade members Harvey Benton and Kevin Atteridge also both received National Medal’s on the night, as well as four and three Clasps respectively recognising their remarkable service.
- Group General Manager - Support Services Kylee Bates, Springhurst's Brian Dunne, Harvey Benton, Kevin Atteridge, ACFO Rod Railton and Captain Stuart Maxwell