Woodvale brigade marks 80 years

THE Woodvale Fire Brigade is this year commemorating its 80th anniversary and as part of the celebrations has launched a book, documenting the brigade’s history. 

The book, Celebrating 80 years of the Woodvale Fire Brigade, was written by brigade member Helen Hickson and showcases how the brigade was formed and how it has changed over the years.

More than 100 people came together last weekend to celebrate the book launch. 

Ms Hickson said it was great to see so many people there. 

“We had a great turn-out, we even had some founding members of the brigade attend,” she said. 

“Eddie Quinn was there the first day in 1932. He was a little boy with his dad at the opening and he came on the weekend.”

Ms Hickson said more than 12 months of research had gone into creating the book. 

She said it was important for the brigade to stay connected to its community and the book was a great way to bring everyone together. 

Ms Hickson said through her research she had found out why Woodvale residents and farmers formed the brigade. 

“The history goes back to 1932, when residents broke a large branch off a tree and dragged it along the ground to put out a fire,” she said. 

“Not surprisingly the technique was often unreliable and so locals decided to form a brigade.”

The brigade was then built with donations from community members. 

Ms Hickson said techniques had changed, from using a stirrup pump knapsack spray to the two vehicles that Woodvale has today. 

She said it was a proud brigade that had been run by volunteers and currently has 26 members and attends, on average, 17 incidents a year. 

Captain Jim Hickson said it was like a big family. 

“We’ve got members we know we can rely on,” he said. 

“We like helping other people out of a jam; if the pager goes off, it means that somebody needs your help. 

“If you can help, it’s the proudest thing you can do.”

Ms Hickson’s book is available by calling brigade secretary Ken Stent on 5446 9929.

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