QLD’s first RFB 75th milestone

GHM Rural Fire Brigade celebrates 75th year

By Sonia Isaacs

THE Glass House Mountains Rural Fire Brigade proudly celebrated it’s 75th anniversary on Sunday, June 30.
Around 50 members, friends, and family, along with representatives from the Landsborough, Beerwah, Peachester, and Crystal Waters Rural Fire Brigades, attended the morning celebrations.
Sunshine Coast Area Director, Inspector Andrew Allan, and Group Officer, Craig Young, were present at the milestone occasion, alongside five of the brigade’s longest-serving (current and retired) members; Dave Gower, Charlie Pike, Peter Young, Alan Smerdon, and Ken Fullerton.
Speaking with GC&M News, Dave Gower recounted that the brigade was first formed in December 1948, due to the increasing need for a locally based bush fire response unit to protect properties and farms. It was originally started by members of the United Fruitgrowers Cooperative Association of the Glass House Mountains, and was officially registered in June 1949, making it Queensland’s first Rural Fire Brigade.
“Our official brigade number is 00001,” Mr Gower said.
“We’ve got a picture of the First Officer from the very first brigade, Charles Gardner, being presented with the ‘number one Bush Fire Brigade’ certificate by the Minister for Lands.
“The brigade has come a long way since it started, and we’ve seen significant changes, even in the last 30 years.” Mr Gower noted that following the 1994 bush fires, there was renewed community interest in joining the local brigade.
“There was a community meeting at the GHM sports club, with locals like Barry Fullerton, Laurie Bell, and Alan Smerdon present,” Mr Gower explained.
“We all got fired up and reignited local community interest in the brigade.
“Our first fire truck was an old ex-army A1-60 International truck donated by Terry and Nona Morgan. Before that, members used their own knapsacks and farm equipment to fight fires.”
Mr Gower expressed his pride in celebrating 75 years of the brigade and the enduring community spirit of the volunteers involved.
“We’ve come a long way from the days when we had to buy our own personal protective gear,” he laughed.
“We’ve now got a new shed, training room, equipment, and a lot of support from the Fire Department. We are all very proud to be involved in keeping our community safe.”
First Officer, Anthony Rook, said the GHM RFB was thankful to have had the support of the community for so many years.
”It’s because of our community that our brigade continues to keep going strong.”