Recog­ni­tion for a pi­o­neer

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

One of the pioneers of aerial fire­fight­ing in Aus­tralia has re­ceived an of­fi­cial thank you from the North­ern Grampians Shire Council.

The council pre­sented Keith David­son with an of­fi­cial let­ter un­der seal in recog­ni­tion of 45 years of ser­vice to Stawell’s avi­a­tion com­mu­nity.

Mayor Tony Driscoll said Mr David­son was an ex­pe­ri­enced pilot at the fore­front of both aerial fire­fight­ing and agri­cul­ture in Aus­tralia.

His as­so­ci­a­tion with the Stawell avi­a­tion com­mu­nity be­gan in March 1971, af­ter he took up em­ploy­ment with Stawell-based com­pany AG Air­works.

Dur­ing his time with the com­pany Mr David­son helped con­trib­ute to the growth of aerial agri­cul­tural prac­tices, in­clud­ing spread­ing fer­tiliser, spray­ing in­sec­ti­cides and her­bi­cides and sow­ing crops, which al­lowed farm­ers to de­velop pre­vi­ously un­us­able land into more pro­duc­tive pas­tures.

Thanks to his ex­per­tise fly­ing in low level and moun­tain­ous ter­rain, Mr David­son be­came heav­ily in­volved in aerial fire­fight­ing in the 1970s, work­ing closely along­side forestry and fire agen­cies to help com­bat fires across the re­gion, as well as help­ing to de­velop fire­fight­ing prac­tices that are still in use today.

Dur­ing the sig­nif­i­cant fires in and around Stawell dur­ing the 1990s, Mr David­son played a lead­ing role in help­ing to de­fend many homes and the Stawell air­port, which came un­der di­rect threat from flames.

His in­volve­ment has helped to es­tab­lish Stawell as a ma­jor aerial fire­fight­ing base for the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Water and Plan­ning and Coun­try Fire Au­thor­ity in Western Vic­to­ria.

He has flown fire­fight­ing air­craft from the Stawell air­port al­most ev­ery year since ar­riv­ing in town in 1971.

The State Govern­ment recog­nised Mr David­son’s con­tri­bu­tion by nam­ing a road in his hon­our.

Cr Driscoll said Mr David­son de­served not only the grat­i­tude of the North­ern Grampians Shire com­mu­nity, but also that of Vic­to­ri­ans in gen­eral.

“Keith is some­one who never seeks praise for the out­stand­ing ser­vice he pro­vides to our com­mu­nity, but he is cer­tainly some­one who de­serves it,” he said.

“For more than four decades, Keith has shown un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing our re­gion is kept safe from fire, and for that, we thank him.”

THANK YOU: North­ern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Tony Driscoll con­grat­u­lates Keith David­son with a let­ter un­der seal in recog­ni­tion of his ser­vice to Stawell’s avi­a­tion com­mu­nity.

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