*This information is an extract from the colour-book produced by the Museum of Fire's Heritage Team to celebrate the opening of the new Eden Fire Station at an event held in 2019. 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.
The Establishment of a Fire Brigade in Eden
In early 1968 the Chief Officer of the NSWFB recommended that the Fire Brigades Act be extended to Trangie, a small town located near Dubbo in central NSW. This recommendation was not endorsed by the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW (the brigades governing body), but instead it was deferred to allow for time to investigate and possibly develop, general standards for the establishment of brigades in smaller NSW towns. According to reports produced, there were no principles or standards in place by which to judge when a town should be assessed to receive a brigade. This isn’t entirely true, as in the past the number of homes in a town, what material they were constructed of, access to reticulated water and any special risks to the township were used as markers by which the Board assessed a towns need for a brigade and also the towns capability of supporting a brigade both with personnel and financially. Thus, each town was assessed on their own merit and no established standard was followed in determining if the Act should be applied to a specific town or not. In June 1968 the President of the Board published the investigations findings and signed off on a series of conditions that a town would be required to meet to be considered for a fire brigade.
In April 1969 the Board wrote to the local council explaining that they were hoping to have the Act applied to Eden from 1 January 1971 and work began to find a central site in the town to erect a fire station. The Board made $20,000 (equivalent to approximately $239, 790 today) available for this task and approved the undertaking of the build for 1970 in preparation for the extension of the Act on 1 January 1971.
In December 1969 approval was given by the NSW Lands Department to have the selected land reserved for fire brigade purposes. It wasn’t until the 1 November 1971 that the Fire Brigades Act was finally applied to Eden and this is the date form which the brigade was inaugurated.
On 15 September 1971 a meeting was held at the Country Women’s Association Hall in Eden for the purpose of recruiting men to form the new fire brigade. Six applicants were selected on the night, however by the end of the week that number had risen to eleven. Allan Brindley was proposed for the position of Captain by the Inspecting officer, owing to his previous experience with the Wagga Wagga Fire Brigade for ten years and one additional year with the Dubbo Fire Brigade. As he was 40 years of age special permission was needed for him to secure a position in the brigade as according to the Board’s by-laws, he was too old to join. Despite this permission was granted and along with him the original Eden Fire Brigade consisted of; R.W. Doyle, C.F. Marks, D.J. Phillips, R.L. Snowden, R.B. Whither, I.C. Whither, G.T. Doyle, A.B. Fraser and F.G.R. Clare.
While the Board effected plans to have the station built, they loaned equipment to the existing bush fire brigade for protection of the town until the time that the Board’s brigade was established. Following the establishment of the new NSWFB Volunteer Brigade this equipment was retrieved and added to the equipment at the new station.
The new station was occupied from late 1971.
The New Fire Station
The new Eden Fire Station is equipped to deal with all types of incidents including specialised Reponses to hazardous incidents in waterways. With the increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Eden annually the ability for the brigade to respond to a maritime incident is essential and the new station will assist in this endeavour. Eden is the most southern brigade within FRNSW and relatively isolated.
According to the latest annual report for the year 2017-2018 Eden Fire Brigade attended 91 incidents including 29 fire related incidents.
-Research and Text by Museum of Fire Heritage Team