History

History

Maffra Fire Brigade formed in 1914 as a result of a public meeting following a disastrous fire in Johnson St. Maffra on Christmas day, 1913.  Several shops from the shire offices to the national bank were destroyed in the fire.  The First brigade captain was Abraham Ruff, who owned a bakery next door to the police station.  In 1915, the brigade was registered with the Country Fire Brigades’ board.

The first equipment that the brigade had was a hand reel, hydrant, hoses and branches.  The hand reel is still housed at the fire station, and is currently being restored.  The brigade’s equipment was stored and brigade meetings were held in a shed behind the shire offices.  Early in 1915, firefighter J. Jones purchased a large half-ton bell from the East Melbourne market for $40 (20 pounds) and this was installed on a large steel tower, which was erected for $13 (6 pounds, 10 shillings) by Langwill Bros. near the shed.

The bell, made in Sheffield, England, in 1887, sold to the Maffra Fire Brigade at the Eastern Market for £20 (pounds).  It came from the former Hawthorn Fire Station.  This bell was rung by the brigade for 65 years and was used to proclaim peace in 1918 and 1945.  It was also used to alert members of house fires, bush fires, searches for missing adults and children and tolled for several firefighter’s funerals.  During the devastating bushfires of 1945, 1965, and 1976-77 the bell was rung so often, calling for extra volunteers that breakages occurred.  Mr. A McAdam was the successful in tender to build a shed for a fire station on the previous site in Pearson St. Maffra, at a cost not exceeding $700 (350 pounds)

This was made of red gum weatherboards and had a flat iron roof.  The year 1924 was one of celebrations for the fire brigade when the fire bell was was erected on a new 18 meter tower on the site, which the brigade still possesses today.  (Not that we use it…)

This tower was erected by Lacey’s for 132 pounds, 15 shillings and 7 pence.  the old tower was given to Maffra swimming pool to use as as a diving tower at the pool in Macalister river behind the present historical museum.

Following requests for Maffra Shire Council in 1926, the brigade took over control of Maffra Ambulance Service, attending to upkeep, housing and answering calls in the Ford Ambulance.

W. Murray was secretary of both services and this arrangements continued for many years.  Maffra obtained its first motor driven fire engine, (a Dodge with a rear mounted pump) in 1926.

This pumper was presented to the brigade by the late Mrs. Rebecca Mills, of Powerscourt House, who was a  wonderful supporter of the brigade and town.

In September 1928 a bushfire division was formed by the brigade, and an old ambulance was converted into a fire truck.

Following a public meeting, funds were raised to purchase more equipment, including a competition reel and hoses.

The brigade purchased a newer Bushfire vehicle in 1943,  which has since been restored by the brigade and can be seen at the station.  (Click here for more details.)

Several functions were held to raise funds including dances, dinners and other family events to build a new fire station on the previous site in Pearson St. This was build with a brick front, and extra rooms on the back.  This was opened in November 1930

In 1935  a new Dodge fire engine was provided for the brigade by the Fire Brigades Board with further replacements of Austins, followed by a Toyota Dyna Pumper, and then the current Ford Trader.  In 1983 the brigade was issued with an International ACCO 3.4 tanker.  The brigade purchased a 2.2d Tanker, for a second bushfire unit, and a salvage vehicle.  The brigade has since updated it’s salvage unit, and has been issued a new tanker.

On 30th November 2003, the brigade sold our original Tanker 2, as part of fundraising for the purchase and construction of a replacement.  The original Tanker 2 was a 2.2D.  The brigade purchased and built this vehicle in 1983, and it served the brigade well until it reached 20 years old.

For more information on the vehicles and equipment, Click here.

For more information, contact the Maffra Fire Brigade.

For Photos, go to the photo gallery