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History of Our Brigade

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                The Early Days. the first 50 Years.
In retracing the history of the early days and formation of the Middle Dural Fire Brigade we go back to the 20th April 1945 and find the first meeting was convened by Mr. Reg Roughley, long established district farmer and orchardist, to be held in the Middle Dural School. This meeting was well attended there being some 24 persons present. In the first meeting the following members were elected as office bearers.

President....................................Mr. Reg Roughley
Secretary....................................Mr. A Best
Treasurer....................................Mr. N.C. Green
Captain.......................................Mr.W.H. Best
Deputy Captain...........................Mr. H .Cranston

          The above office bearers and some fifteen others present at the meeting pledged themselves to undertake fire fighting operations in the area of Middle Dural, the boundaries of the Middle Dural area were set out and remain almost unchanged to this day.
Hornsby Shire Council was represented by Councilor Somerville, and Baulhham Hills Council was represented by Councilor Currie who also told of much that was being done by Council and how it was there desire to have an unbroken chain of Brigades throughout the Shire.

The next special meeting was held in August 1945 and was attended by the following members Messrs., R.Roughley, P H Best, H. Cranston, F Best, G. Dye, J Stanton, W H Best, M. Best, R.Best    N. Rohan, A, Bruce, Edely   Slapp, Cummings and N.C. Green.

At this meeting several things were resolved such as the members who were willing to volunteer the use of their vehicles and tools for use in fire fighting. At this point the tools consisted of rakes, shovels, buckets, Hessian

 

 

 Bags, stirrup pumps trailers. The Captain also moved to appoint Lieutenants from the group altogether 9 firemen were elected to this position. It was also deemed necessary to apply to Baulkham Hills Council re a Petrol License consisting of 10 gallons of fuel.

It was also decided to approach both Councils to supply Standpipes and Knapsack Pumps for Brigade use. This was a difficult task as Council had firstly to approve the funds be appropriated and then they must requisition all equipment via the Administrative Services Department resulting in extremely long delays occurring between the request to supply and delivery to the Brigade which usually took up to 18 months by historical records.

The Captain W H. Best and Deputy Captain H. Cranston wasted no time in forming the new Firemen into an effective group and immediately instigated field training and hydrant drill. This work was carried out at private properties of various members and each was invited to bring their own fire fighting equipment.Being a farming community it appears that the new fire fighters were entirely made up of property holders with a major self interest in securing their own boundaries.

The provision of equipment via Council proved to be a major stumbling block as by 1948 there was still delays in obtaining Knapsack Pumps and hoses with nozzles, but as supplies came through Government Stores via Council Stores, they were distributed to various Lieutenant's residence for storage. At this time a decision was made to purchase a ‘Rega Flame Thrower' to enable the burning of firebreaks.

 

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Due to the slow arrival of equipment requested from Council, it was decided to purchase some goods out of brigade funds these were Rega Knapsack Pumps and Hose Nozzles. It appears that two lengths of 1 inch canvas hose was supplied with no nozzles (now called directors) so the Captain decided to make nozzles to his own design. Many of these nozzles were tried out and eventually a design was selected and made up to suit the needs.

During the month of August 1949 a severe bush fire occurred in the Kenthurst area. The Middle Dural Brigade assisted Kenthurst in fire fighting operations and set the pattern for future co-operation between Brigades.

As fires and property clearing became more prevalent it seems a few minor injuries were sustained this caused the Brigade to undertake First Aid Training. Middle Dural Brigade was lucky in this regard as they had a fully qualified First Aid Officer by the name of Mr. John Ward in their ranks so he not only received the office of First Aid Officer but also set about training his fellow members in First Aid skills.

As a carry over from the 2nd World War Petrol was still in short supply and members using their own vehicles on fire duty were experiencing some trouble in getting supplies, requests for petrol tickets from Council were painstakingly slow however in due course tickets for 10 gallons at a time were secured and distributed to fire fighters.

It would appear that in 1951 there was still extreme difficulty in obtaining materials for fire fighting from both Local Government and Council experiencing delays of over a year from time of ordering till receipt of goods and this one fact seems to have made up the bulk of the business at general meetings in this era.

1954 was an Important year in the development of the Middle Dural Brigade not because of any fire risk as in fact the two previous years had been absent of any bush fires and the efforts of the Brigade over this period was restricted to property clearing and burning back (hazard reduction) The practice in this period was to burn around the properties and allow the fire to burn its way down through the gullies unimpeded and eventually burning themselves out. During this year several things were taking shape. The first suggestion of Council providing equipment shed on the School ground was mooted the first two lengths of 2 inch (64mm) canvas hose was supplied, steel 125 gallon water tank were being distributed and Knapsack Pumps were becoming available. Things were looking up at last.

We are all familiar with the O'Haras Creek fire trail, well in April 1 959 a special meeting was held and it was moved by Mr. Harold Cranston that Baulkham Hills Shire Council be contacted regarding the construction of a Fire Trail from lower Cranstons Road across Creek across to Kenthurst, in due course Council responded with a letter stating their intention of developing a fire trail with Brigade help in establishing a suitable location and the provision of earth moving equipment necessary in bridging the creek.

A tremendous amount of work was put in with the construction of firebreaks around the district during the early 60's. They were the Garemyn Lane to Cranstons Road trail, Arcadia to Wills Road and the Dural to Kenthurst fire trail completion. September 1959 was also a significant time as the first two mobile two way radio. were supplied. This brought about considerable discussion within the Brigade as some older

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