Boronia Fire Brigade
Serving the community since 1942

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Victoria's Early Services
In 1891, the Fire Brigade Act created two boards: the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board (MFBB) and the Country Fire Brigades Board (CFBB). The CFBB was responsible for coordinating fire brigades more than 16 kilometres from Melbourne. Another fire management organisation called the Bush Fire Brigades was created in 1926 following several serious bushfires. It consisted of volunteer members and had little power to carry out fire prevention and received very little financial assistance from the government at that time.
After the serious fires of 1939, a Royal Commission was established and it recommended a single fire fighting organisation for country Victoria.  After more devastating fires in 1944, the Country Fire Association (CFA) was established to better coordinate country fire services. It commenced operation on 2 April 1945.  Today over 100 years after inception, Victoria still benefits from two fire services - the CFA and the MFB.
A Brigade Is Born

On the 4th of July 1942, a public meeting was called in Boronia with the intention of forming a Fire Brigade for the area. Although a Bush Fire Brigade had been in operation since early 1939, the increasing threat of a Japanese attack during World War 2 resulted in the need for an Urban Fire Brigade under the Administration of the Country Fire Brigades’ Board. On the 29th July, Boronia Fire Brigade was formally registered by the Country Fire Brigades’ Board (CFBB).



The First Station

Initially, the first Boronia Fire Truck was stored wherever a garage close to town could be found until the first fire station was opened on Dorset road in late in 1943. An outer station was also formed in Station Street Bayswater which housed a hose reel. Two months after being formally registered, Boronia Fire Brigade had its first major fire - the laundry fire in Bayswater.

Right: The 1943 Boronia Fire Station located on Dorset Road with its second appliance a Ford Utility with front mounted pump.

In 1944, the CFBB was replaced by the Country Fire Authority (CFA). Additionally in this year the Brigades Chevrolet was replaced by a Ford pumper. In 1949 all equipment that was based at the Bayswater out-station was transferred to the main station on Dorset Road, Boronia.



Better Appliances, Better Station

Soon after in 1950, the Brigade Competition team made its first interstate competition trip to Davenport, Tasmania just two years after making its competition debut in Ballarat 1948.

Left: In 1954 the brigade members constructed the Blitz tanker. With the chassis of a 1942 ex-Army vehicle, this vehicle was fitted an old underground petrol tank as water storage and a 650 gpm pump. The vehicle also included a ‘live’ hose reel. All of this was constructed in the Brigade Captain's garage.

In 1955 the Brigade was included in the CFA building program. The new Fire Station was built at 133 Boronia Road, and officially open on the 1st November 1957. The new station coincided with the 15 year anniversary of the Boronia Fire Brigade. At this time, the brigade had been called out to 202 calls with the frequency of calls rising. The twelve month period prior to the new station opening saw Boronia respond to 49 fire calls.

Right: Station opening 133 Boronia Road 1957



More Work, More Appliances

In 1962 Boronia was committed in major bushfires around the area including The Basin, Kinglake, Hurstbridge and Warrandyte. In 4 days during this period 454 houses and 8 lives were lost at bushfires in the area.

Boronia's pumper was replaced in the early sixties. After an initial dispute regarding the pumper allocation, the brigade “withdrew its services”. Soon after, the dispute was settled and the brigade took delivery of a 1942 International K6 pumper.

Left: The International Pumper and Blitz tanker at Boronia’s new Fire Station in the early 1960’s.

The latter part of the 60’s saw Boronia attend major bush fires in Gippsland (1965), Upwey and the Basin (1968) and then again state wide in 1969. 224 houses, 22 lives and 26 schools were lost through out the state of Victoria in this 5 year period.

In 1968 the Brigade were again at work to build another appliance; a Ford Trader tanker. The CFA initially did not accept the tanker into its fleet as it was driven by a diesel engine, however today all fire fighting vehicles have diesel engines.

Right: 1968 Ford Tanker



New Station, New Staff

1972 saw a significant change for Boronia Fire Brigade. It was the foresight of Captain John McLeod that the Brigade made the change from a volunteer brigade to an integrated brigade with full time staff, initially being housed in a caravan adjacent to the station. At this time the brigade activity was further increasing which lead to plans to extend the station to include room for four vehicles. The remodeled station was re-opened in 1976.

Below: Boronia Fire Station Reopening 1976


Big Trucks and Big Fires

In the early 1980’s Boronia received 2 new appliances; The Type 1 Pumper in 1980 and the Combination Pumper in 1981.

In 1983 Boronia was involved in the horrific Ash Wednesday Bushfires that claimed 47 lives and destroyed 2000 homes state wide. Boronia members braved these fires at Belgrave South, Beaconsfield, and Warburton.  

There were also large Structure fires in the Boronia are in the mid to late eighties. These included a fire causing $750,000 damage to the Knox Technical School library. In 1987, $2 million damage to the Clark Maples building in Ferntree Gully and in 1989 another multi million dollar fire destroyed Hansa Toys in Ferntree Gully.

 The large fires continued into the 90’s when Boronia attended Bush fires in the Warburton district in 1991 and also a blaze at the Boronia Church of Christ causing $1 million damage. Also in this year a fire caused $5 million damage to the Swagman restaurant in Ferntree Gully.



A Bigger Station

In 1992 Boronia received its new 2.2D Tanker. Also in this year work was started on Boronia’s new Hazmat & Salvage vehicle.

Left: The new Hazmat appliance was officially commissioned by the CFA Executive Chairman in 1993.

1994 was a busy year for the Brigade. The largest fire in the Brigades primary area occurred at the Knox Council offices. The Combination pumper was replaced with a Type 4 Heavy pumper. Also, new plans were announced to relocate the Boronia Fire Brigade.

Over the summer of 1997 crews were kept busy with large bushfires across the Eastern metropolitan areas of Melbourne. Boronia was involved at Arthur's Seat, Mount Martha and closer to home, Mt Dandenong.

Right: In May 1998 work began on the new station at 300 Boronia Road. On the 3rd of December 1998, the new station became operational. The official opening followed on the 13th March 1999.  Sometime in 2010, the Country Fire Authority sign above the bell was stolen.  If anyone knows its whereabouts, we would like it back, thanks.



New Millennium, New Appliances

Bush fires once again broke out in 2002, this time it was in our neighboring state of New South Wales. Members were flown to  battle the Bushfires across the outer suburbs of Sydney.

Below: A photo taken by members at the NSW bushfires 2002.

2003 saw another large bushfire crisis evolve in the North East Alpine areas of Victoria. Not long after the Brigades new Pumper Tanker was delivered, Boronia crews were involved for some time in this fire mostly around the Mt Hotham area.

It was decided in 2004 that the Boronia fire brigade would build and trial a new prototype light pumper. It was to be built around a Ford F350 XLT 4x4.

Below: The building of Boronia Pumper 2

Right: The light pumper, Boronia Pumper 2, was made operational late in 2005.

Below: Boronia Fire Station, 300 Boronia Road Boronia circa 2005

In 2009, Victoria suffered one of the deadliest bushfires in Australia's history, the 2009 Black Saturday Fires.  173 people perished, approximately 450 where injured, thousands of structures were destroyed and over 450,000 ha were burnt..... < TBC >....

Right: The intensity of 2009 Black Saturday fires (photo: The Telegraph)

Today, Boronia Fire Brigade has 4 operational vehicles and over 80 Staff, Volunteer, Auxiliary and Junior members. Boronia is one of the busiest CFA brigades in Victoria responding to over 1000 calls per year.

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