Firies gather to celebrate 50 years
THE Jandakot Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade marked 50 years of history at a celebratory event over the weekend.
Former volunteers, current members and guests packed the Success Regional Sporting Facility on Saturday night to relive “war stories” and the brigade’s development over the past five decades.
Second Lieutenant Gavin McDiarmid said it was a great opportunity to take stock of all the brigade’s achievements.
“To reach 50 years is a huge accomplishment for the brigade,” he said.
“Jandakot is a real asset for the City of Cockburn, as well as surrounding areas and regional WA.”
He said one of the brigade’s greatest triumphs was containing the Banjup fire, which threatened hundreds of homes in Cockburn’s southeast in 2014.
Brigade members worked around the clock, with its headquarters used as a control point to manage the fire.
“Fortunately for the residents of the local area, that battle was won due to there being no reticulated water in parts of our gazetted area and turn-out times to fire incidents needing to be impeccable,” Lt McDiarmid said.
Away from the battleground, the brigade has had to fight off attempts to have it closed or moved from its Liddelow Road base in Banjup.
The brigade began with a handful of locals co-ordinated by Captain Denis de Young in 1967.
Among the fledgling brigade’s resources were a trailer with water tubs, wheat bags and knapsacks.
“The brigade has changed over 50 years and evolved in many ways for the better,” Lt McDiarmid said.
“It has gone from wheat bags and rake hoes to bulk water tankers and very mobile light tankers to suppress fires.
“Fire trucks are now fitted with full GPS location devices, fire blankets and full crew protection deluge systems.”
The brigade has 60 active firefighters and attends about 60 fires each year as far south as Esperance and as far north as the Kimberley.
Volunteers Gavin McDairmid, Jarrad Fowler, Bill Salter, Les Crannage, Prue Filer, Steve Goedecke and Bob Haddrell.