Group Manager John Wynn said “We are most fortunate that a number of the 1962 Foundation Members were in attendance; Noel Lennox (Drysdale), Bob MacDonald (Mannerim), Jack Beazley (Queenscliff) and Ken McAllister (Wallington): as well as three former Group Officers: Ken McAllister (Wallington), Allan Jinks (Leopold) and Graeme MacDonald (Mannerim). It was a great night with many current and former delegates of the Group and members of the nine local Bellarine Brigades joining to celebrate the Group’s history and share their memories”.
“The Group was honoured that the evening was also attended by Euan Ferguson, CFA’s Chief Officer; Craig Lapsley, Fire Services Commissioner; Lisa Neville, Member for Bellarine; Gerry Verdoorn, CFA District 7 Operations Manager and Bob Barry, CFA Regional Director - Barwon South West Region.”
The Bellarine Fire Brigades Group is one of the oldest CFA Groups. The need for radio communications across the Bellarine and the Geelong Headquarters gave the Group the impetus to form, however there is evidence that there was cooperation between the local Bellarine Brigades back in the early 1940’s.
The Bellarine Group has been represented at most of the major fires in Victoria, South Australia and NSW, offering support, vehicles and firefighters.
A highlight of the evening was the launch of a book of the Group’s 50 year history. Chief Officer Ferguson launched the book titled: Bellarine Fire Brigades Group 73 “All Fired Up” 1962-2012. Euan had contributed to the book by writing a very fitting foreword. The book aims to preserve the Group’s history, from 1962 to 2012, share photographs, newspaper clippings and memories. It was written and put together by Ocean Grove Brigade Volunteer Firefighter, Su Tayler, together with Ken McAllister and Graeme MacDonald, both Life Members and both held the Group Officer role for long terms. Ken McAllister is a foundation member and contributed to the Group for over 30 years and Graeme MacDonald is still a Deputy Group Officer and has also contributed for over 30 years as an Officer of the Group. Graeme’s father, Bob was a Foundation Group Delegate.
Certificates of appreciation and Life Member medals were awarded to those who had played significant roles in the Group.
Certificates of Appreciation were presented to: Steve Atkinson (Drysdale), Dale Berryman (Barwon Heads), Angela Cripps (Queenscliff), Alistair Drayton (Wallington), Allan Jinks (Leopold), Paul Lawrence (Portarlington), Noel Lennox (Drysdale), Graeme MacDonald (Mannerim), Ken McAllister (Wallington), John Nolan (Leopold) and Errol Woodard (Leopold).
Life Membership medals: Harold Peel (Drysdale) (received by Jeff Stewart, Captain of Drysdale on behalf of the Peel Family), Ken McAllister (Wallington) and Graeme MacDonald (Mannerim).
A new Life Membership of the Group was awarded to current Group Officer Alistair Drayton. Alistair started at the Highton Fire Brigade, and has been a member of the Wallington Fire Brigade since moving to the area and been Group Officer since 2004. Ocean Grove Restaurateur and a Lieutenant of the Wallington Fire Brigade, Alistair is a level 3 Incident Controller, the highest rank a volunteer can hold. He is often the Officer in Charge at major fires throughout Victoria. Alistair has a wealth of experience in firefighting and has been selected to support large disasters overseas. From 2000-2004 he was a Deputy Group Officer. Alistair also works for the CFA as Manager of Training and Development within the Incident Management Team Training Project (IMTTP).
The nine CFA Fire Brigades involved in the Bellarine Group are: Barwon Heads, Drysdale, Leopold, Mannerim, Ocean Grove, Portarlington, Queenscliff, St Leonards/Indented Head and Wallington.
Bellarine Fire Brigades Group 73 All Fired Up! The Book is available online at: http://db.tt/xUL9PtN5 (7mb)