Station Focus: No. 218 Batlow (1966-2018)
*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 Batlow Fire Station at an event held in 2018. 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.
Before there was a formalised Fire Brigade
Before the Fire Brigades Act was even extended to Batlow there was a local “town” fire brigade that had been in operation since the mid-1950s. This brigade formed around the same time that there was a state-wide push to create formalised Bush Fire Brigades (today known as the Rural Fire Service, RFS) within country NSW. Therefore, Batlow saw the establishment of not just a “town” brigade but also a Bush Fire Brigade and the two were actually housed within the same shed.
It wasn’t until the 1960s however, that steps were undertaken to create a Government “town” fire brigade, under the guise of the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW. This process began in 1962 when the Board of Fire Commissioners were appointed Trustees of a site for a station at Batlow, however plans for a station were not put in place until 1966.
It was in the January-August 1966 edition of Fire (now known as Fire News), that it was announced Batlow would be amongst five places in NSW to have a new fire brigade established. The other four places being Kingscliff, Warragamba, Wee Waa and Urunga.
The Fire Brigades Act is Extended to Batlow
The Fire Brigades Act was extended to Batlow officially from 1 January 1967, however a delay was experienced in the building of a station and so it wasn’t until 1968 that a contract was let for construction of the new station at a tender price of $12,513 (approximately $152,000 today). The station was then completed in 1969 with the official opening held on 29 May 1969.
Prior to this however, back on 12 December 1966 a meeting was held to find applicants for the volunteer brigade. All of these applicants had been members of the existing locally arranged town brigade and so were considered to be well qualified for this new brigade. Phillip Arthur Quarmby was instigated as Captain, having been the Captain of the former town brigade and being a member of the brigade for the last twelve years. William Horace Dawson, who had been a member of the brigade for ten years was named Engine Keeper. The other men appointed to the brigade had varying years of service with the previous brigade ranging from one to ten years. These men were: Brian Noel Quarmby, Barry Robert Christian, Morris Robert Adams, Frederick Smith Fairlie, Alan Hughes, William James Dawson, Robert Victor Bowman and Edgar Charles Harrison.
Due to the delay in building the new station, temporary premises were made available at the Bush Fire Brigade (now known as the Rural Fire Service, RFS) shed in Mayday Road. Prior to the establishment of the new brigade, this was where the old town brigade had operated. Thus, there were no problems in having both brigades operating out of the same shed as this had been the norm in Batlow for many years. From 12 December 1966 the new brigade’s Dennis was being stored alongside the Bush Fire Brigade’s tender. As an interim measure hose cleaning and drying was to take place at the nearby Caltex Service Station. Training for the new brigade began on 14 December 1966.