Fire on the Limestone Plains/Bush Fire Organisation’s

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Around 1905 a number of land owners in the area formed the Canberra Bush Fires Prevention Committee, the Age (Queanbeyan) makes reference to this Committee in January,[1] February [2] & April[3] 1905, the land owners included Mr. Geo. Southwell, Mr. Sam Shumack, Mr. E. E. Hudson, Mr. G. Hatch, Mr. E. G Crace, Mr. Fred. Campbell and Mr. D. McDonald as secretary and treasurer.

Federal Territory Bush Fire Association

[edit | edit source]

The first Government Organisation to deal with the issue of bush fires was the Federal Territory Bush Fire Association[4] which was formed after a meeting on the 28 October 1915, convened by the Administrator, Colonel Miller.

The Bush Fire Control Organization

[edit | edit source]

On Monday 14 November 1927 the Bush Fire Control Organization had its inaugural meeting.[5] The Chief Fire Controller was Mr M. R. Jacobs (Chief Forester). The Organization [6][7] setup fire depots at MacDonald's Camp near Weetangera, Weavers' Property near Stromlo, Maxwells' Property at The Rivers, Gregorys' Property at Kambah and Horans' Property near the Yarralumla. The equipment at these depots included fire carts, beaters, rakes & axes, with horses for the fire carts being supplied by various Rural Lessees.

The following lessees have been appointed fire controllers in their respective districts: J. Edlington (Tuggeranong) ; T. Cargill (Yarralumla); D. Tully (Stromlo): A. N. Shepherd (Weetangera); E Bondfield and M. Cavanagh (Ginninderra); E. Shumack (Ainslie); .J. Mayo (Majura); D. Murray (Mill Flat); H. C. A. Reid (Tidbinbilla).

In 1932 the Bush Fire Control Organisation was reviewed when the Federal Territory (Rural) Lessees’ Association with a view to strengthening the Departmental Organisation obtained the ready co-operation of its members in the creation of bushfire control districts throughout the leased areas of the Territory outside the City Area. Ten (10) such districts were formed and Fire Controllers appointed for each district, the local landholders forming the control. Deputy Controllers were subsequently appointed in each district and arrangements made for co-operation by landholders outside the Territory, particularly on the northern and western boundaries. Duties of Controllers It was arranged that the undermentioned duties would be performed by district Controllers:-

  • To take charge of all fire fighting equipment supplied by the Department;
  • To make an inventory of all available fire fighting equipment the property of landholders in the district;
  • To organise the fire fighting resources of the district;
  • To take charge of operations in the event of an outbreak of fire in conjunction with official fire controllers;
  • To attend meetings of Fire Control Officers. The Deputy Controllers will deputise for the Controller during his absence and generally assist the Controller during fire fighting operations.[8]

The ACT Bush Fire Council

[edit | edit source]

The severe bushfires which caused widespread damage in the Australian Capital Territory in January 1939, was the subject of enquiry by a Bush Fire Committee appointed by the Minister of State for the Interior, the Honorable J. McEwen, M.P.;[9] among the recommendations was one favouring the appointment of a permanent Bush Fire Council to organise the prevention and suppression of bushfires in the A.C.T. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on the 18 August 1939.

The membership of Council were the following:

  • Mr C. E. Lane-Poole[10] - Inspector General of Forests
  • Mr C. R. Cole - The Chief Fire Control Officer
  • Mr F. N. Snow - Rep. of the Queanbeyan Branch of the Graziers' Association of N.S.W.
  • Mr F. Southwell - Rep. of the Federal Territory Rural Lessees Association
  • Mr J. E. Morrow - Chief Lands Officer of the Department of the Interior

Office Bearers of the first Council were:

  • Chairman - Mr C. E. Lane-Poole
  • Vice-Chairman - Mr C. R. Cole
  • Secretary - Mr R. G. Kappler[11]

Bush Fire Council Chairman:

  • Mr C. E. Lane-Poole 1939-44
  • Mr R. G. Kappler 1944-54
  • Mr C. R. Cole 1954-58
  • Mr D. W. Shoobridge 1959-61
  • Mr R. G. Green 1961-62
  • Mr E. Cavanagh 1962-68
  • Mr M. W. Edgerley 1968-79
  • Mr V. M. Jeffery 1979-91
  • Mrs C. Parsons 1991-93
  • Mr G. Gaskill 1993-94
  • Mr J.M. Sandison 1994-97
  • Mr D. Broderick 1998-2005
  • Mr K. Jeffery 2006–present

Chief Fire Control Officers:

  • Mr C. R. Cole 1939-40, 1944-54 **
  • Mr L. D. Pryor 1940-44
  • Mr S. R. Margules 1954-58
  • Mr R. J. Slinn 1959-61
  • Mr J. T. Kellow 1961-65
  • Mr I. D. Lamb 1965-66
  • Mr A. Fearnside 1966-74
  • Mr R. Fenwick 1974-78
  • Mr C. L. Parsons 1978-85
  • Mr R. Fenwick 1985-87
  • Mr P. W. Lucas-Smith 1987-2004

(** 1940-44 the war period when Lt. Col. Cole commanded the A.I.F. Forestry Unit)


[edit | edit source]