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Bulli fire fighters celebrate their centenary

Bulli Fire Station centenary

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner, Paul Baxter joined firefighters and community leaders on Friday to celebrate the centenary of Bulli Fire Brigade.

Unveiling a plaque at the fire station, Commissioner Baxter said the event was a great opportunity to thank past and present firefighters for their service to the community.

“Bulli firefighters have responded to all manner of emergencies over the past 100 years, putting their lives on the line to protect the irreplaceable,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“The station and its firefighters have done this community proud and will continue to do so well into the future.”

Guests at the celebration shared stories of Bulli’s firefighting history, which began after the Fire Brigades Act was extended to the Bulli Shire in October 1918.

Members of the newly-formed fire brigade received their initial training in January 1919 and Thomas Conley was chosen as the first Captain.

Captain Conley even offered his own car for use in emergencies until a motor fire engine could be made available, proposing that his vehicle be used to tow the hose reel to and from fires. From these humble beginnings, the brigade has become a vital part of the local community, responding to major fires, storms, road crashes and other emergencies.

Bulli firefighters helped battle the blaze at sea on board the Ming Mercy coal carrier in August 1997 and worked through the night to protect properties in the wake of the devastating Christmas Day bushfires of 2001.

Crews from Bulli were also part of a mammoth firefighting effort on board the Iron Chieftain bulk carrier in Port Kembla in June last year.

“A lot has changed in the fire service over the past 100 years. Today our firefighters at Bulli have modern firefighting vehicles and are trained to be prepared for anything and ready to help anyone, anytime, anywhere,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“They are equipped to respond to road crash rescues and hazardous material incidents – events unimaginable to their predecessors from a century ago. “One thing that hasn’t changed is the courage and commitment of our firefighters and we are incredibly proud of them all.”

Bulli Centenary 2

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter, Station Officer Tony Powell and Wollongong Deputy Lord Mayor David Brown.

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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