Fire brigade members honoured

THE Old Beach Fire Brigade has recently honoured three of its members in its prestigious fire service award.

Graeme Gee, Peter Wylie and Phil Owen have been named the first recipients of the Tasmanian Fire Service volunteer medal. The TFS volunteer medal is awarded to operational brigade members following their completion of a pre requisite ten years of service. Through a ‘statement of support’, the award also recognises and honours years of diligent service and integrity to the operations of the fire brigade.

All three recipients have demonstrated a commendable career in the Old Beach fire brigade service: Graeme recently retired from the service following more than 25 years; Peter has more than 20 years service under his belt, while Phil remains an active member and is approaching his 29th year of continuous active service.

The Old Beach fire brigade was established following the tragic Tasmanian Black Tuesday fires in 1967.

Phil Owen said Old Beach is a vastly different suburb than it was back in 1982 when he moved to the area with his family to the house in which he currently resides.

“There were no more than 20 homes in the area between Cassidy’s and Compton Roads, and the brigade itself was largely made up of farmers in the surrounding area,” he said.

“Up until the late seventies the brigade’s fire fighting equipment included a trailer mounted pump, a suction and delivery hose, a couple of rake hoes and the old broomsticks with a couple of lengths of old canvas hose wired to the bottom.

“Fire fighting in those days was colloquially referred to as ‘bush bashers’ and ‘fern flickers’.”

Today, the Brigade is part of the Hobart Fire Brigade District and is equipped with a light tanker (OB5:1) and a heavy tanker (OB3:1). OB3:1 is equipped with breathing apparatus to fulfil the dual roles of vegetation and structural fire fighting and is the primary response mechanism to fire and motor vehicle incidents from the Bowen Bridge to Compton Downs, and inland to Honeywood.

The Brigade consists of 20 active members and an enthusiastic junior brigade. Brigade chief Dion Grace is ably assisted by second officer Kellie Willits and third officer Craig Bowerman.

If you live in the Old Beach area and are interested in joining or learning more about your local brigade contact Brigade chief Dion Grace on 0417 318 or Phil Owen on 0419 333 252.