A brief snapshot of CFA's history in pictures.
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From informal beginnings, CFA has grown to be one of the
largest volunteer-based emergency service organisations in the
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CFA has over 52,000 volunteers, including firefighters, community educators and support personnel spread across 1211 brigades, 21 districts and 5 regions in Victoria.
On 1 July 2020, CFA became a volunteer-based emergency service organisation when a new organisation - Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) was launched, to bring together all MFB and career CFA firefighters.
We are renewing and refreshing our focus as a volunteer-based emergency service organisation to create a successful future; one that builds on the unparalleled trust and respect that Victorians have for our organisation.
CFA brigades play a critical role in
responding to flooding across much of the State.
Rescuing a man trapped in floods at
Beaconsfield. CFA supports other emergency services in times of
Significant fires occurred across the whole of Victoria
during the 2008/2009 fire season, including Black Saturday on 7
173 people lose their lives in Black
Saturday, the worst natural disaster in Australia's history.
Thousands of homes and other dwellings are destroyed and over
400,000 hectares burnt.
More than 19,000 CFA members are involved in
frontline firefighting, incident management and support during the
February 2009 fires.
A new generation of modern sheds, such as
this one in Hilldene, are replacing older stations around the
CFA crews respond to a train crash in Kerang
where a V/Line passenger train is hit by a semi-trailer, killing 11
people and injuring 23.
An explosion at Longford Gas Plant kills two
people and leaves eight injured. Victorians are left without gas
supplies for two weeks.
A five person crew from Geelong West lose
their lives fighting a bushfire in Linton on 2 December. Their
deaths lead to major reform of CFA training and occupational health
On 21 January fires spread throughout the
Dandenong Ranges, killing three people and destroying 41 houses.
CFA loses a fire truck fighting the blaze,
which threatens suburban Melbourne.
Alpine Brigades take ownership of three new
Bombadier Type 4 pumpers.
A tyre factory in Braeside takes crews hours
to control, leaving thick plumes of smoke burning into the
Ash Wednesday fires on 16 February sweep through parts of
Victoria and South Australia, killing 75 people, including 13
CFA crews are involved in 180 fires across
the State, including this one in Anglesea.
Mt Little Joe and Warburton on Ash Wednesday.
Uniforms for female firefighters are
International ACCO 610A 3.4 tankers are
introduced in 1981. Forerunners of cab-over engine tankers, they
are 4WD and have high ground clearance.
Geelong crews battle a fire at Peter Toynes
Golf Store in Ryrie St, Geelong, with their 1942 American La France
ladder truck, Commer Pumper and two International front mounted
The international D1410 is a popular 4WD
tanker with a larger water tank than the Austins.
CFA establishes training grounds at
CFA headquarters moves to Milton Parade in
CFA's newest recruit, Captain Koala, is an
instant hit with kids whenever he appears at events.
Mildura Fire Station, built in 1903 with
their International AA series 2 front mounted pumper.
CFA firefighters attend the scene of a
devastating head-on collision between two trains in Violet Town.
Local brigade members worked with crowbars,
shovels and axes to rescue people trapped in the wreckage of the
Southern Aurora Disaster on 7 February 1969.
Fighting a petrol tanker involved in fire
after a collision on the Princes Highway in Noble Park. Crews
fought in their station gear with very little protective clothing.
An impressive truck for its day, the
International C1610 with front mounted Thomson pump could move 3000
litres of water per minute.
After the war, CFA begins supplying many bush
brigades with galvanized tin sheds to house their trucks.
Three different types of Willys Jeeps are
produced as a small lightweight 4WD tanker based on the Hurricane,
Tornado and Gladiator chassis.
Crews train at Western Beach, Geelong, while
a warship berths at Cunnigham pier.
A primitive station made of fibro cement used
by Wandin Fire Brigade in the 1950s.
Surplus ex-army Nissen huts are supplied to
many bush brigades after the war.
CFA produces a tanker based on an Austin
series 1 truck chassis and fitted with a 300 gallon (1300 litre)
A Royal Commission into the 1939 Black Friday fires
recommends a single firefighting authority for country Victoria,
bringing together the Bush Fire Brigades, Country Fire Brigades and
Forest Commission. The Country Fire Authority commences on 2 April
The newly established CFA Board meets for the
CFA's early headquarters in Clarendon Street,
Trailer pumps are common in brigades as they
can be towed by most vehicles and set up quickly at a water source.
Early units are often hand operated.
Brigade members are blindfolded with basic
breathing apparatus for a wartime training exercise. Vehicles at
that time had blackout lenses fitted.
On 13 January fires in East and North East Victoria claim 71
lives, destroy 69 sawmills and burn millions of hectares. The day
is known as Black Friday.
Lilydale Brigade's Graham pumper makes its
way to fires in Warburton on Black Friday.
Warburton, Noojee, Kinglake, Erica,
Powelltown, Glideroy and the Dandenong Ranges are badly affected by
the Black Friday fires.
Geelong crew members training with breathing
Fire spotting in the air begins with a RAAF
The Black Sunday bushfires of Valentine's Day
1926 sweep across the Gippsland and Dandenong regions of Victoria,
claiming 31 lives.
Firefighters with beaters and branches
fighting a fire on Kangaroo Ground Road in Warrandyte on Black
Captain Tom Gardiner from Warracknabeal fire
brigade establishes the Gardiner-Aussie workshops to build fire
Horsham Fire Station, typical of a large
country town station in the 1920s.
Dandenong Fire Station, erected 1910.
Bendigo Fire Brigade purchases its first
motorised firefighting vehicle, a 1912 Commer.
In the early part of the century, Bush Fire
Brigades are formed. Consisting mostly of local landowners, Bush
Fire Brigades receive little or no financial assistance from the
Government and operate independently from their urban counterparts.
Firefighters test their skill and fitness at
a demonstration event – predecessors to modern day championships.
This year sees the creation of the Fire Brigade Act and two
new boards: The Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board (MFBB) and the
Country Fire Brigades Board (CFBB).
The CFBB has power and responsibility of all fire brigades
based more than 16km from Melbourne.
Firefighters training with hand drawn hose
A hand operated manual water pump.
Ballarat Fire Brigade acquires the first
steam pump in Victoria from Shand Mason in London, in 1881.
Geelong Fire brigade poses in full uniform
outside their station.
1850 - 1860s
The first Volunteer Fire Brigades are established in Geelong,
Castlemaine and Sandhurst (now Bendigo).
Sandhurst (now Bendigo) Fire Brigade and fire
Castlemaine Fire Brigade.
Page last updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2023 4:09:01 PM