THE new $498,000 fire station at Streatham has been officially opened and will enhance the capacity of firefighters to protect communities in Western Victoria.
Representing the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells, Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said this new station will provide firefighters with a major boost in their ability to keep the local community safe and ensures they have the facilities, equipment and resources to do their job safely and effectively.
"Streatham brigade is one of more than 200 CFA stations that have been upgraded since the Coalition Government came to office," he said.
The new station features a two-bay motor room, three car parking spaces, an administration area and multi-purpose hall with toilets, kitchen and rainwater harvesting facilities.
"The CFA has used a local builder and sub-contractors meaning that a high percentage of money was spent locally," Mr Delahunty said.
Mr Delahunty said the Coalition Government was committed to ensuring firefighters were well-equipped and had the equipment needed to save lives and protect property.
The Streatham Fire Brigade has a long and proud history.
In the days of the Bush Fire Brigades, Lake Bolac was one of the first centres in the district to have a Brigade in 1915. Equipment was distributed in the district, 100 gallon tanks, beaters and knapsacks were given to Westmere, Lake Bolac, Streatham, Mininera, Chatsworth and Woorndoo.
In 1941 a Streatham Bush Fire Brigade was formed and equipment was returned to Lake Bolac. In 1947 a public meeting was held to discuss the formation of a Streatham Rural Fire Brigade and temporary officers were elected and Shire representatives were in attendance with a boundary for the proposed Brigade set. The Brigade was registered with the CFA on September 8 1947.
The first shed was built by donations and volunteers in 1958 and the first truck was an Austin which was delivered by CFA officers.
Communications from the fire ground to an office started in 1940 were an ex-army field telephone was connected to overhead lines and a runner was used to convey information.
Major fires the Streatham Fire Brigade has attended are the 1969 Fires - where Streatham lost a private tanker but fortunately the crew survived, the 1977 Streatham fires, 1998 Linton fires, Carranballac Fires, 2006 Grampians fires, 2009 Black Saturday fires at Horsham and deployed as part of a Strike Team to the fires in the east and Grampians Complex in 2014.
The fires of 1977 were particularly devastating for the region, claiming most of the brigade area and the township of Streatham.
In Streatham township itself assets lost included 14 houses, four shops and residences, two garages, the Post Office, Presbyterian Church and there was extensive damage to the school and hotel. In total there were 38 houses burnt and 100 other buildings destroyed. Miles of fencing went and 356,000 bales of hay burnt as well. There were 60,000 sheep and 748 cattle destroyed.
Tragically one of the brigade members lost his life and 30 other people were injured.
Assistance poured in from the community and from Australia wide people came to the aid. The hall was set up with goods and clothing. The Golf Club became the administrative centre; a local committee was set up to distribute aid where necessary. Some of the community members left the area but others worked to rebuild.
Mr Delahunty said a recent program of funding of the CFA was to strengthen Victoria's emergency services and will have direct benefits for volunteers and the community.
Mr Delahunty also congratulated 31 members who received awards for long service including Bill Loader and Andrew Geddes who have served the community through CFA for 50 and 55 years respectively.
"Their commitment to the CFA and community protection is inspiring," Mr Delahunty said.
Streatham CFA service award recipients:
Five year certificate - John Forbes, Leigh Graham, Peter Hamilton, Michael Porter; 15 year medal - Jonathan Box; 20 year medal - Scott Blurton, Charles Geddes, Paul Harwood, Luke Loader, Bruce McKenna, Jennifer McKenna, Anthony Mulcahy, Alastair Wills; 25 year medal - Ross Cooper, Mick Ernest, Dennis Harwood, Thomas Harwood, Brendan Mulcahy, Peter Mulcahy, Glenn Wilkinson; 30 year medal Bruce Dunn, Judith Loader, Bryce McLean; 35 year medal - Bill Harwood; 40 year medal - John Box, Greg Brown, Murray Forbes, Graeme Stewart; 45 year medal - Bill Weatherly; 50 year medal - Bill Loader; 55 year medal - Andrew Geddes.