Protecting the community from fire

Since the establishment of Helensburgh (Camp Creek), bush fires have been a constant threat. In summer months, particularly in times of drought when the creek beds were dry and the tanks empty, fire was a constant hazard to life and property.
Following the emergencies brought about by the disastrous bush fires that occurred along the Illawarra Coast on “Black Friday”, 13th January 1939, a public meeting was called by Herb Fackender at the Miners Union hall on 4th January 1940, to discuss the formation of a Bush Fire Brigade.

A subsequent meeting was held at the Shire Office and nominations were called for the position of various officers. Those elected were Mr. Herb Fackender (President), J.S. Watts (Sec/Treas.), Constable Stanford (Captain), T. Fenton and H. Sneyd (Deputy Captains), R. Gilchrist and Tom Gardiner Jnr. (Lieutenants), and Dr. Cox, C. Cox, S. Stephenson, E. Taylor, Dick Smith, (Committee), A. Pitt (Ambulance), F. Hansen and A. Kinnell (Gear Stewards).

After a meeting with the mine manager on 20th February, it was reported that the pit “buzzer” would sound 3 whistles (2 short and 1 long) as a warning for the township in the event of a bush fire.

Since those days our volunteer bushfire brigade has grown. Today it has many dedicated members who can boast continuous membership of over thirty years.

The photo illustrates the team in 1968. (l to r) Bill Jeffrey, Alex Gadd, Tony Delacca, Les Smith, Dave Luck, Col Everingham, Colin Courtney, Terry Millott, Dave Woods and Brian Piper.