SA Country Fire Service Promotions Unit - History Section
- 1954 to Present
As a result of a fire at Gulnare, in the mid-north of the State in 1953, a public meeting was convened at Koolunga early in the following January to discuss the possibilities of forming a volunteer E.FS. Brigade in the town. A canvas of the district raised £1,320/4/6. This enabled fire fighting equipment to be purchased, including two Grazcos pumps. An additional S.A. Police Department 'loan' pump was obtained from E.F.S. Headquarters and all three pumps and other equipment were fitted onto quick-loading platforms as at that stage, full-time vehicles were not available.
The first vehicle was purchased in October, 1960, with a second truck three years later. This enabled the Koolunga E.F.S. members to fit them out as full-time fire fighting vehicles, making the Brigade more mobile than previously.
Koolunga E.F.S. first competed in the Annual E.F.S. Drill Competitions in 1950 and have been regular competitors each year, culminating in 1967 with winning the Region 4 (Northern) Elimination Events at Brinkworth. At the final competitions, Koolunga was narrowly defeated by the Region 2 (Lower North) team from Nuriootpa. However, another victory soon followed with the Koolunga members taking out the 1st Division in the "BP Australia Ltd." award, winning fire fighting equipment to the value of $550. The winning team comprised of Messrs. M. Weckert (Captain); F. Whitehorn, B. Spencer, B. Freeman and A. Freeman.
In 1963, the Region 4 Elimination Events were conducted at Koolunga with Mr. L. L. Ottens as Regional Officer for that year and the Koolunga E.F.S. as the Host Brigade.
A summary of competition "firsts" and "seconds" won by the Koolunga Brigade shows the following (up to 1967): "A" Grade Hose Drill-2; "B" Grade Hose Drill-7 Pump Drill-1; Alarm Race-11 (including the finals); One Man Hose Drill-11; One Man Ladder Drill-3; Four Man Ladder Drill-1. In addition, Mr. M. Weckert has won first place in the 'Best Private Fire Unit' for Region 4 three times.
In 1966, the Redhill District Council purchased a Bedford truck and this was built into a fire fighting unit for Koolunga, replacing one of the older vehicles. The following year, Council accepted full financial control and constructed a large fire station in the centre of the town.
At a well attended ceremony on the 29th February, 1968, Mr. L. L. Ottens officially opened the station. At the same function, the Bedford fire unit was commissioned by Mr. F. L. Kerr (Director of E.FS.) and Mr. J. P. Wright of BP Australia Ltd. presented the winning team with their "BP AUSTRALIA LTD." Award equipment.
The present executive of the Koolunga E.F.S. are Mr. P. H. Longmire (president), Mr. F. W. Whitehorn (officer-in-charge) and Mr. K. G. Pedler (secretary).
(Left to right): Fireman M. H. Weckert, L. R. Stringer (supervisor), Station Officer F. W. Whitehorn, Fireman P. H. Longmire (president), L. L. Ottens (deputy supervisor), Firemen B. D. Spencer, D. H. Bentley, A. S. Freeman, B. J. Freeman.
Information and photo from the 1968 E.F.S. Manual
This Information was provided by the
SACFS Promotions Unit