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ROTHBURY VOLUNTEER BUSHFIRE BRIGADE

History of the Rothbury Volunteer Bushfire Brigade...

The area serviced by Rothbury Bushfire Brigade has undergone significant changes since the Brigade was formally constituted in 1968. Large areas of land were under grass or scrub, without the present vineyard fire breaks.

Formal training was non existant, and the major item of equipment was a wheel mounted, tractor drawn, 500 gallon water tank featuring a power take off pump. Meetings of the Brigade were sporadic in the early days, with the second minuted meeting of the Brigade held over three years later. At this meeting the first office bearers were elected.

A year later the third meeting was held, with the Brigade voting to accept the offer of a water tanker from Cessnock Council. The fourth meeting of the Brigade was held over two years later, in 1976. At a meeting in 1978 it was voted that the Brigade would purchase overalls for each member to wear, our first PPE.

In 1982 it was decided that the Brigade needed a permanent location for the Bedford tanker which had been purchased second hand from one of the local shopkeepers. Built by the volunteers, the shed was finally at lock-up stage towards the end of 1984.

By 1990, following several break-ins, thefts and vandalism attacks, it was evident that an alternate location was needed to house the Brigade's equipment. In 1992 the Council gave approval for a new shed to be built at Cessnock airport to provide the dual function of bushfire protection and aircraft/aerodrome incident response. The new "Jim Roberts Memorial Fire Station" was officially opened on 6th August, 1994.

(Jim Roberts was extensively involved in the formation of the Rothbury Bushfire Brigade, was a long time Captain of the Brigade, and later became the first of the Group Captains for the district when that position was created).