History

Highlights from the Brigade Minute Books

1870:

At a meeting held in the Victorian Hotel on June the 8th, the following were enrolled:

J. Cross J. Forsyth T. Williams
G. Keeping G. Brownlus J. McKenzie
W. Fraser J. McCully H. Hurley
J. Greed J. Rothger J. Law
T. Pench T. Keeping W. Hoare
C. Christie J. Richards A. Malcolm
J. Mallinson W. Betts J. Bromley
E. McNaughton J. Gordon J. Coghlan
J. Balderstone A. Greed R. Malcolm
T. Crawford W. Finlayson R. Collins

It was proposed that Mr. Balderstone be appointed the first Captain.
The use of the bell at the Presbyterian Church was solicited in the case of a fire. A Petition for a Fire Engine was arranged for presentation to the Council. Firemen were to arrange as many signatures of ratepayers as possible. Council had earlier stated that it had been willing to supply the Fire Brigade with an Engine.
J. Hamilton was elected the first President of the Brigade.

1882:

The Captain reported that Messrs W. & N. Thomson offered a fire bell (11cwt) £60, half to be paid in cash, with the balance in three and six monthly instalments.
A deputation to the council received £20 towards the cost of a temporary station for £80.

1885:

A request was received from Ballarat for the formation of a Country Fire Brigade’s Association. Captain Carter was appointed to attend the formation meeting.

1890:

It was decided that any cab driver who took the reel to a fire be paid 5/-.
Gas at a cost of £5 was installed at the station.
Mr. Hannah, Chief Officer, arrived in December for an inspection. He stated that he was satisfied with the station, that an engine was necessary, and he would undertake to supply one next year.

1891:

The Town Clerk wrote informing the Brigade that they must purchase Fire Brigade equipment through Council.
A nightwatchman was appointed at 10/- per night.
Mr. A. Greed’s tender of £40/10/- for the apparatus was accepted.

1893:

It was decided that the Brigade ask the Council for indicators to be placed at the fire plugs in the streets.

1896:

The Secretary interviewed the carious applicants for the position of reel carrier to fires; however, it was decided that the cabs be used and that the first cab on the site take the reel and firemen present. The fee for this was fixed at 5/-

 1897:

A ladder was purchased for 35/- after some discussion on the high cost. It was decided to find a suitable site for a new fire station on Market Square. The sum of £100 was available from the C.F.B. for the building.
The Council wrote stating that it had no responsibility in providing water for fires.

1899:

A letter was written to the C.F.B. informing them that the Hamilton Mechanics’ Institute would be for sale shortly and suggesting that the Board should purchase this building for a fire brigade station.
It was decided to ask the board for a new track.
The C.F.B. advised that one of the new engines could be sent to Hamilton, but owing to Hamilton having no suitable accommodation, the Chief Officer would not send such a costly engine to Hamilton until a proper station was built.
A site in Gray Street, between the Argyle and Grange Hotels (no known as the George) was for sale at £4 per foot. An amount of £500 was allowed for the building, including architects fees.
Cobb & Co’s brick factory in Thompson Street was offered to the Brigade as a Station for £600. It was decided to pay £5 to secure the offer for six weeks, and subject to the approval of the C.F.B. to purchase same instalments of £30 per year. Dundas shire donated £3/3/- towards the new station fund.
Tenders for the new station ranged from £607 to £863, and were sent to the Board for approval. With some modifications, Mr. Wilson was willing to build the station for £517.

1901:

The new Fire Station was opened with a banquet on August the 6th and a ball on August the 29th. Mr. Clarke offered the use of his horse for running out the apparatus.

He stated that the horse could be taken from his stall at any hour. The Brigade offered to build the track on Market Square if the Council would provide the materials.

1902:

It was decided to purchase the land adjoining the station, and Captain Goss was elected be the committee for this purpose.

1904:

It was resolved that the Major and President of the Dundas Shire be approached to call a public meeting to form a Bush Fire Brigade.

1905:

Messrs Goss and McLellan were elected to go into the matter of alarms in houses of firemen at a cost of £70 per 12 houses. Mr. Robinson asked for a selection of 12-15 houses for the alarms.

1907:

The bell tower was increased to 75 feet. After an approach by the Captain, the C.F.B. offered £15 towards the cost of the additions.

1908:

Tenders were accepted for the building of a room at the rear of the Station equipped with a telephone, for the keeper to sleep in.

1911:

A fire alarm was put in Mr. Basham’s house, and a street alarm near Wright’s Coffee Palace.

1912:

A Junior Brigade was established and doing well.
Plans were laid for the building of a caretaker’s cottage.

1913:

The Council received a deputation from the Brigade for the use of the office of the weigh bridge as an out station, and also that the office be placed inside Melville Oval.

1916:

Tenders for the caretaker’s cottage were called, and one for £328 was accepted. Rental for the cottage was fixed at 10/- weekly.

1930:

A ladies committee was formed to attend all functions.
The Regent Theatre requested two men on duty. Their request was granted at a charge of 2/- per night.

1934:

The alarm for bush fires in the future was to be by a blast from the siren at the electric works.

1937:

The Council was asked to stop motorists from turning cars in Gray Street, and parking in front of the fire station.

1941:

Captain Rankin delivered addresses on air raid precautions.
It was decided to send canteen orders to all members serving abroad.

1946:

The Town Engineer was asked to erect “No Parking” signs in front of the Station.

1954:

Firemen Schultz and Elston were presented with 25 year service clasps.
Forty year service clasps were presented to the Secretary J. Murphy and Captain S. Rankin.
Captain Rankin was elected Chairman of the Country Fire Authority.

1955:

G.W. (Bill) Dunstan

G.W. (Bill) Dunstan

A siren was fitted to the bell tower in June.

1961:

G.W. (Bill) Dunstan was elected Captain of the Brigade.

1962:

In August the Brigade attended a fire in Gray Street on Strachans Corner.

Fire at Strachans Corner – August 1st 1962

Damage to the buildings owned by Strachans and Slorach Autos was estimated to be more than £330,000.

1967:

Erecting the old fire bell

A total of 43 fires attended during the year, namely 17 buildings, 13 grass and the balance chimney and rubbish fires. Only two did any serious damage.
A new tower complete with bell and siren was erected in July, to replace the old 75 foot tower which had served the city for 60 years.
Members held a working bee in July to erect the old fire bell in the corner of

their grounds next to the George Hotel.

Brigade members (1960’s)

1969:

It was decided to toll the bell after testing the siren because of the number of power failures.
Hamilton was awarded the 1971 State Demonstration.

1970:

The new fire reporting system (F.R.S) became operative on November the 11th.
Hamilton, at its Centenary year, (1970) covered an area of 5,351 acres, with a population of 10,160. There were 2,936 dwellings and 276 shop and factories, with a net annual value of $11.5 million, an unimproved capital value of $99.2 Million and a capital improved value of $28.4 million. Amongst the celebrations of the Centenary year were a fireman’s reunion, a Centenary Dinner and a Centenary Demonstration, the first on the new track, held on May 9th.
The Dinner was the highlight of the year and included guests from local government instrumentalities, members of parliament, district fire brigades and the Country Fire Authority. The Mayor of the City of Hamilton, Cr. Kevin Thomas, presented a plaque on behalf of the Councillors and Citizens of the city to the Brigade, in appreciation of the 100 years of service to the City. The 105 guests were catered for by the Ladies Auxiliary.

1971:

This year the Brigade was awarded the Conduct of the Victorian Urban Fire Brigade’s Association Annual Demonstration. With much hard work both by Brigade members and the Ladies Auxiliary, and by members of the community a very successful demo was the result.

Brigade members (1970’s)

1977:

This year was a bad year for fires in the District. Streatham, a small town on the Glenelg Highway was destroyed. There were many smaller outbreaks in the district.

1979:

The Brigade was again able to conduct the V.U.F.B.A. Annual Demonstration, which again was a great success.

1982:

The new alarm system for private alarms was installed to the Comms Room. The DELTEC system provided a big improvement in the receipt of alarms at the Brigade.
This year also saw a new residence built for the Resident Officer.

1983:

ASH WEDNESDAY, The brigade had a substantial commitment through the Dundas Group to the suppression of the fire that commenced at Old Monivae and was stopped at Buckley Swamp.
A pager system was installed at the Comms Rooms which allowed direct call out (of equipped) members and the ability to give messages to members responding.

1986:

The Bedford 800 gallon tanker 4×4 was replaced with Hino diesel powered 4×4 tanker. (Pic Below)

Tanker – 3.4L             tanker

  • Hino GT175 4×4
  • Godiva single centrifugal pump driven by Volkswagen 1600cc engine (2020 Litres/min at 700kPa)
  • 3000 Litre water tank
  • 8 x 20 Litre ATC “B” Class Foam
  • 2 x 20 Litre “A” Class Foam

1987:

This year the vehicle replacement programme saw the replacement of the International Front Mounted pumper with a Hino, automatic, power assisted steering, rear mounted pumper. (Pic Below)

Pumper – Type 3       Pumper

    • Hino FF172 Crew Cab
    • Thompson 650 pump (2900 litres/min at 700kPa)
    • GAAM 60AG auxilary pump (159 litres/min @ 700kPa)
    • 1400 Litre First Aid Tank
    • 200 Litres ATC “B” Class Foam

Crew Capacity of 5

1989:

A new hose tower was installed at the Gray Street Fire Station and in 1990 the brigade added an electric winch to the tower at its cost.

1993:

This year saw the new station for Hamilton move to confirmation with permit for location of the Station at Cox St confirmed and the project moving to tender, and acceptance.

Brigade members (1999)

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