South Australian Country Fire Service Promotions Unit

Raising awareness of the roles, training and activities of CFS Volunteers state-wide


CFS Competitions

The History of the Competitions.

The EFS and CFS Competitions

The action of the drill For many years EFS-CFS drill competitions have been held as an annual event in South Australia and a number of other Australian states. These competitions allow volunteer firefighters to test their skills and prowess against opposing brigades from across the state in a congenial atmosphere.

Unlike a real bushfire situation, where lives and property are at risk, these drill competitions are more Volunteer verses Volunteer, and Brigade verses Brigade, which allows a more friendly opponent than a bushfire would.

The history of drill competitions began with an Emergency Fire Service Gala Day conducted at the Norwood Oval on Labour Day, Monday October 11, 1943.

Many inspiring messages were given to those taking part by eminent people of the time, including the Governor General, Lord Gowrie; the Governor of SA Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey; the Prime Minister John Curtin; the Premier of SA Sir Thomas Playford; the Chief Secretary Sir Lyell McEwin; the Lord Mayor of Adelaide Mr Reg Walker; the Civil Defence Commissioner Mr G.D. Shaw; and the Fire Brigades Board Chairman Harry Jackson.

Brigades competed for The Dugan Cup, a silver cup donated by Mr Bob Dugan as first prize to the team completing a specified drill in the fastest time.

The general public was charged an entry fee to the oval at the following rates: admission to the oval, one shilling (10 cents); grandstand, one shilling and sixpence (15 cents), and children at half price.

This competition became the forerunner of today's Regional and State competitions.

It is not clear whether the drill competitions ran every year after 1943, but records show that from 1947 onwards they were conducted on an annual basis, with Mt Gambier EFS taking the honours in that year, completing the Hose and Pump Drill in 87 seconds.

The Portable Pump and Alarm Race was won in 1950 by Montacute with a time of 42.8 seconds, and the Best and Most Efficient Appliance and Crew category was won by Mt Barker in 1958.

A further competition conducted was the EFS versus the Industrial Fire Service in Dry Hose Drill. The adversaries in 1960 were Jamestown EFS and ICI Ltd, with Jamestown declared the winners with a time of 65.0 seconds.

The action of the drill

Photos taken by Steven Schueler