The chilly day started at Murrayville with an inspection of the new station, shed and the surrounds and plantings that members have worked so hard on. It was a family affair with multiple members of core brigade families such as the Wyatts and Willersdorfs in attendance, but it was also open house for anyone in the community who wanted to come along and look around.
Interested CFA members had driven across from Beulah, Trudy and Kevin Ryan came from Manangatang brigade and Southern Mallee Group Officer Doug Afford also stayed for the day.
The official party was made up of Mildura Mayor John Arnold, CFA Board member Reid Mather, Loddon Mallee Regional Director Pat O’Brien and District 18 Operations Manager Bill Johnstone as the master of ceremonies, with MP Peter Crisp officially opening the station alongside Captain David Allan. A member of the local SES also stood up and spontaneously congratulated the brigade, welcoming the station as an asset to the area.
“We’ve been in the station for about six months now when the radios were moved over,” said Captain Dave, “and things are ticking over pretty well. We’ve got about 60 members registered so there are people willing to help at the station or run the champs if they don’t turn out. We’ve got 11 Juniors and one of our members is 80 years old and comes down to the station every Sunday.
“We got a lot of jobs done in the lead up to the day which was satisfying. The brigade was really motivated to get the bell tower, lawn and parking area done.”
Brigade members were also motivated to bring along an array of salads and desserts for lunch with all the barbecues fired up for the steaks, kebabs and sausages. Once the official ceremony was over, trestle tables were erected in the engine bay and it was time to eat and chat with anyone who took the seat next to you. For me it was members from Pinnaroo Country Fire Service Brigade just over the South Australian border; a brigade that is also a member of CFA’s Murrayville and Border Group.
As Trevor Wyatt, AFSM and Group Officer of Murrayville and Border Group says proudly, “We do things a bit differently over here.”
The road trip continued after lunch with the official party and guests driving down the highway for the opening of Cowangie Fire Station.
“The truck came back the day before with the crew protection system installed,” said Captain Barry Beer, “so we’re pretty well set up now. We’ve just got two new young members and about 30 members apart from that; all farmers. CFA and the community are the same thing here.”