A Brief History of the Brigade
A committee was formed at an Agricultural Bureau meeting consisting of Allan Forrest, Gerald Stevens and Tom Woolford. Discussions took place with Dick Keynes who was Head Officer of Tarrawatta Fire Service (Keyneton). The group then reported back to The Agricultural Bureau which resulted in the formation of Springton Emergency Fire Service. Springton was the first Brigade to have Farm Duty Trucks operating in the State.
The Springton Emergency Fire Service was formed on 23rd November 1959 after a serious fire which burnt an area from Cromer through to Palmer. The lack of organisation and communication during this fire highlighted the need for an organised approach to fire-fighting.
In January 1960 a radio was purchased by the local council for our Service to co-ordinate our fire-fighting activities. At this stage our organisation consisted of approximately 15 farmer owned units with three volunteers per unit. Each of these units was rostered on for a week during the fire season as ‘Duty Truck' to enable a quick response to call-outs. All duty truck tanks for the Springton area were painted orange background with black numbers one foot high for identification.
A petrol Toyota Traytop (probably late sixties model) was purchased (by Tom Woolford & Jim Forrest from a backyard in Kilkenny) as a control vehicle in 1974 for $2,450.00 to replace the privately owned radio vehicle which had been used previously. This vehicle had suffered the rigours of a hard life and its reliability was somewhat questionable. Although it ran OK the problem was starting it. As a result there was a strong tendency to either park it on a hill or keep the thing running from the time you took it out to the time you returned home. It was fitted with a donated tank and pump which was also of dubious reliability.
In 1971 the cost of overalls (Khaki colour) was $8.00 with $4.00 subsidy. Berets were $1.70 and 30c for the Name Tags.
Back in the early days Springton had a manual telephone exchange. The alarm officer (usually the Postmaster) would take the alarm call then notify the Duty Truck and the Chief Officer.
Our second Toyota was an excellent unit but a bit unstable when full of water. This was a 100 gallon 4WD with a Finsbury Pump. In 1991 when we got the Hino, the Toyota was sent to Palmer where it remained until purchased by Greenock CFS th year (1995).
From 1989 to 1991 we had the use of ‘State 52', a Bedford Fire unit on loan from CFS equipped with a Volkswagen pump. This unit would hold about 400 gallons and had outlets on all four corners of the tray. Although this was a good unit it had its limitations on hilly terrain.
In 1990 the new Springton CFS Station was erected and in 1991 the current appliance a Hino 24 was commissioned.
Due to a change in policy regarding insurance, the Farm Duty trucks were phased out on a roster system in 1988 although we still see these trucks on the fire ground today.
As a tribute to those who dedicated years of their time to the organisation, in 1993 we held a Progressive Dinner at Springton. A presentation was made at the main venue, a woolshed, in the form of certificates of appreciation to past members who had given so much to the Springton community.