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Well this vehicle certain was a great asset to brigade but it also presented us with a major embarrassment, as not long after receipt of our shining glory it was instrumental in taking the whole front out of the fire building including the roller shutter doors the lot. That happened when a top mounted locker, with a lift up lid, was accidentally left open as the tanker was driven out on a fire call. The lid failed to clear the door by some 30 cm and brought the lot down. Red faces could be seen everywhere,

1984 was a busy period an extension to the building was underway In the form of a meeting room and although the bricks and mortar were supplied and erected most of the fitting out, including the installation of a kitchen, floor carpeting and painting were met by members including basic costs.

Moving on to Year 1985 saw the next important development to the Brigade that was the introduction and supply of the latest UHF hand held radios. These radios, the same as those used by the Police Dept, signaled another major advance in the development of efficient fire fighting development. These radios were small, lightweight, extremely clear readability and offered a range of several kilometers. Seven of these radios were assigned to Mid Dural and were distributed to Captain and Deputies for personal uses while on the fire ground.

Fire fighting was always with us over the intervening years but one fire which stands out amongst our members was one known as the Great Tyre Fire, this occurred at Londonderry used tyre dump when the whole area caught fire causing a major effort by many brigades to bring this under control, Middle Dural had some 11 members in attendance the operation extending over 48 hours, This fire was unique as the whole area was walled with a moat In order to contain any pollution which would have run off into nearby creeks. The fire was hosed with as many Tankers and pumps as were available within the shire and was certainly a test for our newly acquired gear.

                   

 

    Years 1989 and 1990 saw two more Long Service Awards issued to Mid Dural members these were to Ken Lines for 26 Years and John Mutch for 35 Years service the latter was awarded by the Fire Control Officer  John Hojel, at a BBQ dinner evening held at the premises to celebrate the occasion attended by all members and spouses. Being connected with the fire brigade has many side issues such as the necessity to become creative when certain obstacles present themselves, this has happened many times throughout the years resulting in some first's being created.

    As previously stated it started with hose directors being fashioned by Harold Cranston back in '46, followed by, to the best of our knowledge the marking of white triangles on the roadway to identify the location of hydrants, the automatic battery charging of fire vehicles while standing unused in the fire station development of system which is now in common usage throughout the Shire. The development of a combination float-strainer for use on the lOO mm suction lines,

    The manufacture of an impregnating bath to proof tool handles with linseed oil to extend their life and reduce the risk of splinters and blisters of the hands. The acquisition of many hand held radios meant the necessity to recharge nickel-cadmium batteries, these batteries have complex problems with maintenance requiring special conditions, to this end one of our members designed and manufactured two such automatic multiple chargers to cater for this requirement. Another member designed and manufactured a portable dual outlet Hydrant branch for use in training and Standpipe drill.

The main acquisitions achieved between 1991 - 98 were the purchase and installation of instructional TV and video equipment, this gear was mounted in our meeting room to cater for the ever-increasing flow of video training modules as supplied from the Bush Fire

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Training centre, also in May '98 we once again took delivery of a 'Bedford' Category 1 Fire Tanker to replace our aging 'International' unit. This unit carries the largest water capacity now allowed on the road, some 3500 litres, but required fitting out as regards the hose couplings, Stortz fittings and related gear. This work was carried out by our members working on Saturday work roster, finally achieving a most elaborate layout being both effective under duty conditions as well as a showpiece to be proud of.

Also at this period our aging Land Rover was replaced with a brand new 'Nissan' four wheel drive quick response vehicle, this appliance is equipped and set up with all equipment that is normally supplied on a larger category 1 tanker but scaled down to carry a complement of three personnel.

 

Well January 1994 saw the on set of Sydney’s worst fire threat, with fires ringing the Metropolitan area from the south, west, and most of the entire north as this was the one that effected us. Middle Dural played a major roll in this operation with one unit deployed at Singleton which had the distinction of saving several houses in that area with the help of a seconded water tender and a little help from the police. The rest of the brigade was totally employed on a rotating shift basis fire fighting in the Wiseman's Ferry area. This work involved clearing firebreaks around properties, burning back, building firebreaks and blacking out. Altogether in excess of 450 man-hours was volunteered by Middle Dural members.

 

 

The year is now 1951 and fortunately there has not been any repeat of the previous year’s fires however many small incidence of local fire activity has occurred throughout the year. This has left us with the task of bringing to fruition our latest project, that is to build a mezzanine floor in the Fire Station to facilitate the storage of equipment which has accumulated over the years. This project was only completed in August 1995 in time for our 50th Birthday celebrations.

The birthday was celebrated on the 23 September which is the 50 Anniversary of the First Annual Meeting that was held on the 23rd September 1945.

 

Compiled by Life Member John Mutch from Diary and Minutes of Middle Dural Rural Fire Brigade.

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