Diamond day for our firefighters

Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire and local government relations coordinator Craig Garrett with Georgia Johnson, the first female bushfire volunteer captain for Bullsbrook. d386229
Department of Fire and Emergency Services bushfire and local government relations coordinator Craig Garrett with Georgia Johnson, the first female bushfire volunteer captain for Bullsbrook. d386229

The Bullsbrook Volunteer Fire Brigade was established in 1953, when Swan Road Board made an application for registration of its Bullsbrook Brigade.

Some of the most memorable moments came from the first summer of 1953-54 when a local tennis tournament was broken up when a fire call came. Most of the men who attended the fire were in their white shorts.

Up until 1962, the men fought fires using tractors, trailer pumps, ploughs and knapsacks sprays.

After 180 volunteers battled a large fire in the Upper Swan-Bullsbrook region in 62, the purchase of a fire truck was the hot topic on the brigade’s agenda.

Finances were low and after lengthy discussion it was decided to ask for donations and at that meeting 12 locals each donated 12 pounds.

The brigade bought the ‘Ford Blitzbuggy’, complete with tank and pump from the Pearce Air Base.

Volunteer firefighters come from all walks of life, with the oldest member Michael Walker (50) noting there had been many changes in technology over the years.

‘I’ve had 34 years in the service, and back when I started all our equipment was ex four-wheel drive City of Swan vehicles,’ he said.

‘Now we have better equipment, such as trucks that can carry 3000 lites of water.’

Captain Georgia Johnson echoed Mr Walker’s view and said it was hard to compare the equipment used in the 50s to today.

‘A lot of it was manual handling back then. The advancement in equipment from when the brigade first started out compared to the hoses and pumps that we have now is amazing. We use digital radio communication and everything is down at the push of a button today,’ she said.

‘We went from a Bush Fire Brigade to a Bush Fire Service in 2010, which has now enhanced us doing structure fire fighting, hazardous material fire fighting as well as the bushfires that will always be there.’

Ms Johnson said the anniversary celebrations would be a reunion for older volunteers.

‘It is a community-minded brigade with people that live in Bullsbrook, who have actually taken the time to join and meet new people and look after our own area,’ she said.

‘This Sunday is a reunion to show people the past history of the brigade and where we started and what we’ve come to.’

The Bullsbrook fire station will be open to the public from 11am to 2pm on Sunday for the celebration.