• Museum of Fire Heritage Team

Station Focus: Rhodes (1921 - 2022)

*This information is an extract from the colour-book produced by the Museum of Fire's Heritage Team to celebrate the centenary of Rhodes Fire Brigade at an event held in March, 2022. Should you wish to use any of the information and pictures provided we ask that you please reference the Museum correctly and contact the Museum for permission where applicable.


On 11 December 1920, the town clerk of the Municipality of Concord wrote to the Board of Fire Commissioners of New South Wales requesting assistance to form a local voluntary fire brigade. Town Clerk, H. A. Furness, stated that:

“At last meeting of the Council of this Municipality I was directed to ask you that your Board establish a hose reel at Rhodes, and to inform you that suitable premises are available for the housing of same.”

He referenced the large number of timber yards and industrial businesses operating in Rhodes, noting a recent fire at the local state timber yards, which had been met with a significantly delayed response time. In addition to the increasing hazard profile and distance of the nearest brigade to Rhodes, the commitment of local community members to form a voluntary fire brigade garnered favour for establishing fire protection in the area. This recommendation was endorsed by the Board of Fire Commissioners on the condition that it would be operated in a voluntary capacity


Rhodes Fire Brigade with appliance, 1930 [Museum of Fire Collection]

On 11 March 1921, a selection of firefighting equipment was installed at Charles McIlwaine’s residence for the new Rhodes Fire Station.



The original members of Rhodes Volunteer Fire Brigadei were Charles McIlwaine (Captain), James Lindsay, John Lindsay, William Brown, Robert Brown, George Howie, Fred McCrea, John Sandilands.11 As an inferred precondition for appointment, each member resided within close proximity to the newly established Rhodes Fire Station, hence the recurrence of some family names.


The Captain’s of Rhodes Fire Brigade

C.A.V McIlwaine (1921-1946)

C.V. McIlwaine (1946-1983)

G.C. McIlwaine (1984-Present)


Rhodes Long-Serving Firefighters Who Have Served 25+ Years

Schollay, J. A. (1928-1958)

McIlwaine, C. V. (1939-1983) – Captain (1946-1983)

Smith, G. A. (1963-1996)

McIlwaine, G. C. (1966-Present) – Captain (1984-Present)

East, P. H. (1979-2014)

Fitzpatrick, E. B. (1979-2007)

Gosby, J. (1988-2015)

Harrison, S. (1988-2015)

Pellegrino, G. (1996-Present)


Rhodes Fire Brigade in 1989 (left) and 2021 (right) [Museum of Fire Collection]


Rhodes Appliance List

Year

Number

Model, Make

Type

1921

-

-

Hose Reel

1930

087

Willys-Knight

Pumper

1932

053

Farford 64c

Pumper

1935

028

Garford 75s

Pumper

1939

082

Dennis 250

Pumper

1942

116

Garford 75s

Pumper

1959

224

Dennis 250/400

Pumper

1961

240

Dennis Ace

Pumper

1967

063

Dennis F1

Pumper

1974

366

Ford D200

Pumper

c. 1987

360

Ford D200

Pumper

1999

560

Isuzu TFR-800 4x2

Pumper

2004

254

International 1810C

Pumper

2007

431

Isuzu FTR-800 4x2

Pumper

2011

648

Isuzu FTR-900

Pumper


The Museum of Fire Heritage team attended an event last Friday to celebrate the centenary of the Brigade, which was formally established in early 1921, over 100 years ago. Scroll through the images below to see some snaps from the day.


Rhodes Fire Station and Brigade during the centenary event on 11th March, 2022. Photos courtesy of Fire and Rescue NSW media team.


- Story by Museum of Fire Heritage Team

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