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Shepparton Fire Brigade
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Shepparton Fire Brigade History

The Shepparton Volunteer Fire Brigade began in February 1888 when Shepparton had a population of perhaps 2000 people.

In rural Victoria, Shepparton was regarded as a town of substance and had developed rather quickly in the period following the unlocking of the land from the stranglehold of the squatters. The Shire was a mere 10 years old and more recently had been severed from its former Numurkah component.

At a preliminary meeting held in the Shire Hall and chaired by Cr.E.J. Daly on Monday, February 20th, 1888, the historic motion of Cr. G. McCracken and jas. McLean was carried – “that it is desirable to form a Fire Brigade in Shepparton, and that necessary steps be taken to form such Brigade”.

At that meeting 22 men gave their names as members. The first meeting of the newly formed brigade then took place, again at the Shire Hall, on Friday February 24th. At this meeting a further 27 men sought membership and the first election of office-bearers was held.

During its formative years the brigade had many technical and physical problems to overcome.

It’s first priority was an apparatus shed. Negotiations with the Shire Council resulted in its first Fire Station being erected between the “water tower and Quiggin’s timber yard”, and completed before the end of 1888. The name “Shepparton Fire Station” was painted on this building by Messrs. Crowe and Miller on December 30th, 1888.

 

The first fire bell of the brigade was purchased from John Danks for £15.5.7 on April 25th, 1890. Placement and erection of a bell tower proved a problem which was not resolved until the beginning of 1891.

To further improve the system of communications street alarms were installed in 1911.

From the beginning of the new century there were strong moves to obtain land in Maude Street at the rear of the Post Office for the purpose of building a new station. This became a reality in 1902 when in October of that year the brick building designed by J.A. Clarke was constructed at a cost of £420. It was largely financed by donations and built with the assistance of volunteer labour.

As early as 1908 Apparatus Officer Grant volunteered to sleep at the Fire Station for £8 per annum. He thus became the first resident officer.

The disastrous fire of the 1919 at the Shepparton Freezing Works had highlighted deficiencies in equipment necessary to cope with such a blaze. Approval in 1922 to purchase a motor reel was naturally great news for the brigade which in 1920 had opened fund for just that purpose.

The need for such a motor reel was apparent to local industry and as a consequence donations were received from Shepparton Preserving Company, Shepparton Butter Factory, Goulburn Valley Industries and other sources as well. By the beginning of 1922, £210 had been paid to the C.F.B.B. for the new motor reel and Fireman W.Crozier had been appointed to proceed to Ballarat for the new “Maxwell Hose Carrier”.

By 1945 however, with the end of the war, agitation was voiced for improvements including a new running track for training. This did not become a reality for more than a decade. When eventually permission was granted in 1960, the brigade with aid of the City Council, their own funds, and working bees completed the area on the east side of Victoria Lake between Welsford Street, and Hayes Street, now known as Trevaskis Parade.

The replacement of the C.F.B.B. by the C.F.A became official for Shepparton and other brigades on April 2nd, 1945.

At a special meeting held at the Shepparton Fire Station on October 18th, 1961, Captain W. Wilson, and Lieutenant R. L. Trevaskis were replaced by Station Officer A. Pitfield and Sub-Station Office E. Stephens. This was an historic meeting as these latter two became the first permanent offices appointed by the C.F.A. to Shepparton. The new structure was being introduced throughout Victoria.

At the time of writing, Shepparton Fire Brigade has five permanent officers and 19 permanent fire fighters.

The urbanisation of Shepparton and the development in the district has created a need for expanded fire fighting services. On a statistical basis the Shepparton Fire Brigade can now expect to be called to at least 680 - 700 fires in any year. By comparison, between 1888 and 1922 it was called to less than 10 fires each year, and between 1923 and 1961 there were only 13 years when it was called to more than 10 fires.

The jurisdiction of the Regional Officer, defined as Region 22, covers an area extending from Echuca to Cobram on the Murray River as foar south as Euroa Group and the Strathbogie Ranges and includes 10 groups, containing in total, 17 urban brigades and 73 rural brigades. The Regional Officer and his staff have their headquarters on Goulburn Valley Highway (Numurkah Road).

In 1968 the Shepparton Fire Brigade moved to its present location on land which had been purchased in Maude Street in 1961.

This building was commenced in October, 1967 and officially opened by State Secretary, Sir Arthur Rylah on October 18th, 1968

 




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