Friday, February 11, 2011
Fire brigade 1
(Photos: m schafer (left); www.architecture.com (right)
Queensland's first fire brigade was a volunteer service that commenced in Brisbane in 1860 and has grown to an organisation that employs 2,000 permanent and 2,000 auxiliary personnel, together with a further 35,000 volunteers. The current operating budget is $350 million, according to the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service web site. Queensland is one of only two states that administers both metropolitan and rural fire services from one central body.
The Brisbane fire service operates out of suburban fire stations and regional stations in the city at Kemp Place (above left) and Roma St (above right), and operates an academy at Whyte Island, close to the Port of Brisbane.
It wasn't always like this, of course - here's a picture from around 1911 of the purpose-built fire headquarters on the corner of Ann St and Wharf St. That's All Saints' Anglican Church in the left background. The building was opened in 1908 and remained in service until 1964. A plaque in the area now known as Cathedral Square marks the location of the station.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #187174)
Early fire-fighting appliances were somewhat different too. Here is a photograph of the New Farm Volunteer Fire Brigade with the quadricycle that transported them to local fires.
(Photograph: "Brisbane on Fire"; K Calthorpe & K Capell)
The quadricycle has been preserved in the Queensland Museum.
(Photo: Courtesy flickr; m cook)
Like our other emergency personnel, the "fireys" would have been more than busy over this monsoon season. We depend on these people so much, yet we do not give them the kudos they deserve. My hat is off to them.
We have all been donating to assist the victims of recent events, and there may yet be more that we have to face. But if you still have a wish to help people in a smaller way, the Queensland Firefighters produce an annual calendar that raises funds for the Royal Childrens' Hospital Burns Centre. The calendar features some of Queensland's firefighter heroes out of uniform (don't worry, certainly not adults only!) and has been extremely popular for some years.
Click here for a Google Map.