The Brigade has a long and proud history having served its community for 90 years (2015) after being first registered in 1925. Throughout its lengthy history the Brigade has survived several challenges to close it down and continues to demonstrate resilience and commitment to serving the community. The Brigade prides itself on being relatively self-sufficient which is demonstrated by the foresight and commitment to designing and building its own fire station and undertaking almost all improvement works to the station since its inception, without any CFA input or contribution. This is in addition to the Brigade raising funds for the purchase of numerous Brigade-owned vehicles throughout its history, and continues until today.
We hope that you enjoy reading the Official History of Edithvale Fire Brigade.
In the beginning
The Edithvale Fire Brigade had its first beginnings in 1921 when the local residents first met to discuss the need for a fire station to be located within their own community. Although there already was a fire service in the area known as the Borough of Carrum, the residents of Edithvale felt they needed a Brigade closer to home.
Therefore on November 29th 1921, a meeting was held, in attendance were the Progress Association, the Council, the Community Members and the representatives from the Country Fire Brigades Board. Approval for the Brigade was given when it was announced that the Country Fire Brigades Board would take over the Boroughs fire service but certain conditions must be met before the final approval.
To enable the Brigade to be accepted for the Country Fire Brigade Board, Edithvale had to raise £57.12.06 to purchase the equipment needed. This money had to be raised by the 1st January 1922.
The equipment needed was: 300 Foot of hose, 1 Hydrant, 3 Pairs of couplings, 1 Branch, 1 Small hose reel, The Board also gave their definition of the proposed area of operations. Property owners in Edithvale, bounded by Lochiel Avenue and Alexandra Avenue on the North and Bristol Avenue and Berry Avenue on the South, were the Brigade’s primary source for funds contribution, so as to assist in the provision of an effective fire service.
Those present at the meeting immediately provided the first donation towards this appeal. The progress Association then approached the Brigade at Chelsea for financial assistance and was granted a loan of £40. at an interest of 4%.
After this locals were approached to provide donations to their local Brigade. By the 15th February 1922, public donations had amounted to £36.6.6 with more to be collected. It was just after this that the committee wrote to the Railway Authorities in a bid to locate a site for the proposed fire station.
During the next few years further fund raising activities were undertaken with picture nights and markets further bolster the fire Brigades funds.
On the 1st May 1925 the Chief Officer, Col Marshall promised his assistance to get the C.F.B.B to grant the formation of the Brigade if it could be guaranteed that the station could be built again within a certain time of 90 Days.
The following week another meeting was held and the station and its size discussed, the decision was that a building of 30′ x 14′ was to be built and the necessary suppliers would be contacted and a working bee set for the 8th June 1925.
In early June the committee was informed of an objection from a resident that the station was being constructed in front of his property, this objection was overturned and construction commenced.
On the 1st July 1925 the Edithvale Fire Brigade was registered as Brigade 149 with the C.F.B.B. with 9 members registered.
Captain: A.E. Cooper
Lieutenant: E.T Mapperson
Foreman: J.T. Graham
Secretary: G.H. Joy
Fireman: W.J. Smith
Fireman: H.M Graham
Fireman: E.T Brothwell
Fireman: N. Chirgwin
Fireman: J.M. Temple
Due to WW2, many members of both the Aspendale and Edithvale Brigades were sent overseas. This left both Brigades depleted of members and as a result in July 1941 it was decided to amalgamate Aspendale into Edithvale Brigade boosting Edithvale numbers substantially.
It was decided to form three small “bicycle” Brigades to be located throughout the area. One operated out of the fire station, the other from the rear of the old chemist shop on Nepean Highway and the third from the Bridge Hotel.
These bicycle Brigades consisted of 2 bikes one carried a hose and the other a hydrant or branch.
In 1963 the CFA made the decision to disbanded the Edithvale Brigade. They believed the station was inadequate and the future fire protection would eventually come from the new station at Chelsea that was to be opened in 1966.
The Council and Community again rallied around to ensure a fire Brigade remains in Edithvale. With Public support the CFA again offered the challenge that if the Brigade could fund their own building then they could continue to serve the local community. If they could not then the Brigade would be amalgamated in to the Chelsea Brigade.
Again the local residents and community in general got behind the Brigade with the council offering to donate a site to the Brigade, 3 were offered until the site at 206 Station Street was accepted.
Building commenced in 1967, and the new station took 2 years to complete, with members doing the majority of the work to curb the rising costs. CFA assisted with a late offer of $3,000.00 to help complete the works.
With the station now complete, Edithvale’s future is looking secure.
The Mayor Councillor H.D. (Bert) Thomas also an Honorary Life Member of the Brigade with over 25 years of service officially opened the station on August 16th 1969.
The Brigade choose not to have the Chief Officer open the station for 2 reasons, firstly they wanted to show their gratitude and respect to Bert Thomas for his support and secondly they had not forgiven the CFA for their lack of support.
At this time the Brigade housed three vehicles and equipment.
In 1982 the Brigade raised sufficient funds to replace the ageing Holden Panel Van, which was used for fire equipment maintenance and transporting equipment to fires, with a Holden Shuttle ‘Salvage’ van.
The 1980’s are remembered for the Ash Wednesday fires which engulfed much of the state on the 16th of February 1983. Edithvale Tanker (Austin), described at the time as ‘clapped out’, supported by the Salvage Van (Holden Shuttle) responded mid-afternoon towards the Dandenong Ranges area. At 2am on the Thursday a relief crew was dispatched from Edithvale station. Due to many issues compounding radio traffic during the peak of the fires, and their rate of spread, the precise location of the Edithvale Tanker and salvage were not known. Finally as dawn broke on Thursday 14th February the relief crew found our vehicles and crew safe and well in Officer.
In 1985 the ‘Salvage Project’ commenced, with an aim to raise funds and update the Holden Shuttle to a more appropriate vehicle for performing a salvage role. After two years of fundraising and several large donations from community organizations the Brigade was able to commission in 1987 a new salvage van based on a Mazda twin cab chassis.
A unique feature of CFA volunteer fire brigades is their commitment and involvement in ‘running teams’ where various firefighting skills are put to speed and accuracy tests at district and state competitions. A highlight for Edithvale was in 1989 when the Brigade’s senior running team travelled to the Western Australian State Championships. Nine members, travelling in a convoy of vehicles, including the old salvage van still adorned with lights and sirens, spent a number of days traversing the continent to arrive at the Esperance Caravan Park ready to show the ‘Sandgropers’ just how good the Victorians are. Esperance Fire Brigade was a Brigade similar size to our own, and their hospitality was great. Capt. Jack Neate made an official presentation to the Brigade as a lasting memento of our visit.
With the salvage van approaching twelve years old in 1997, the Brigade once again raised funds to replace the cab/chassis in order to extend the end of serviceable life to approx. 2007 (noting that it’s still in use in 2014).
Up till this time, the Fire Station front contained dual roller doors, divided by a central pillar, which inherently restricted the size of vehicles that could be housed within the station, and provided challenges to some with regards to reversing the vehicles in. In 2001 the CFA funded renovations to the doors, motor room floor and rendering to the station. This was followed in 2004 with major renovations to the inside of the station, and in 2010 the Brigade funded and constructed a new turn-out gear room to cater for the new structural PPC (Personnel Protective Clothing).
To ease the pressure on vehicle parking, a garage was constructed at the rear of the property. The garage was gifted by CFA to Edithvale when the Chelsea and Carrum Brigade amalgamated. The Brigade funded the relocation, construction and major drainage works.
As a result of the Chelsea/Carrum Brigade amalgamation in 2006, Edithvale was issued with a Tanker on a full-time basis.
In 2007 the Brigade became part of a pilot program to provide first responder support to the Ambulance Service with life critical emergencies within our area. Under the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) program Ambulance Victoria (AV) trained Brigade members on advanced first aid and the use of Defibrillators and Oxygen therapy equipment. Armed with these new skills and equipment the Brigade responds to ‘Priority Zero’ medical emergencies which include suspected Heart Attack, Stroke, Drowning, Unconscious/Not Breathing patients. At times, arriving on scene ahead of AV, Brigade members have been able to administer life saving advanced first aid to the community.
Initially the Brigade used it’s Toyota Hilux Support Vehicle to respond to EMR calls, but this vehicle wasn’t designed for such a role and had space and stowage limitations. After a number of years fundraising, the Brigade purchased and commissioned a new EMR vehicle in December 2013. A Ford Territory (Police Pack) was the vehicle of choice for the EMR role as it provided sufficient crew space and equipment stowage and is also the vehicle used by Mica Paramedics. The EMR Vehicle was officially handed over to the Brigade by the Fire Services Commissioner in November of 2013.
Recognising that the current fire station facilities would not meet the changing needs of the community, the Brigade successfully lobbied the State Labor Government in 2010 to allocate $1M for land acquisition for a new fire station. The Brigade in 2013 was able to directly negotiate the purchase of the neighbouring property, with the CFA purchasing 207 Station Street as the site for the new Edithvale Fire Station.
Aligned with its 90th anniversary the brigade has finalised a brand strategy that has resulted in a new brand that respects the past but provides a contemporary brand for the future that more accurately aligns with the new strategic direction for the brigade. The new brand is capable of adaptation to maintain the brigades unique identity for use in a range of applications across all forms of media, whether physical, online or within the community. The new brand and the underpinning philosophy maintains the previous brigade logo, originally imported for use by the brigade from the London Fire Service, identifies the brigades establishment date and its overriding philosophy of serving the community. This was all achieved in a contemporary style that modernises and enhances the image of the brigade consistent with its desired reputation and brand across CFA and the community.
As part of the Brigades 90th Anniversary Celebrations held at the fire station on September 13th, the Minister for Emergency Services, Hon. Jane Garrett MP unveiled the final plans for the new fire station with the support of the Member for Mordialloc, Tim Richardson MP and Mayor of the City of Kingston, Cr Geoff Gledhill.
These plans culminate the initial phases of delivering the Andrews Labor Governments commitment to a new community fire station for Edithvale. These plans have been developed after significant consultation involving the Brigade, City of Kingston, Government and CFA, having regard for the unique design characteristics necessary to cater for the undulating site. The plans include all aspects of Governments commitment and will deliver to the Brigade and community an outstanding future focused facility. Town Planning application is currently being progressed with the project well on-track for delivery in line with Governments commitment and expectations. Construction is expected to commence mid 2016, with the Brigade hoping to occupy the new station in early 2017.