Since the establishment of Helensburgh (Camp Creek), bush fires have been a constant threat. In summer months, particularly in times of drought when the creek beds were dry and the tanks empty, fire was a constant hazard to life and property. Following the emergencies brought about by the disastrous bush fires that occurred along the Illawarra Coast on “Black Friday”, 13th January 1939, a Bush Fire Brigade was formed and has thrived ever since.
In time for International Womens Day on the 8th March, it is important to acknowledge the critical role that women play in keeping us safe in the Northern Illawarra…
Shown in this photo are Vicki Christie, Karen Elward, Kelly Maree Michael, Shirl Stone, Kathleen West, who comprise the five active female fire fighters in the Helensburgh Rural Fire Brigade along with Jenni Gadd from Otford Rural Fire Brigade.
Senior Deputy Captain and Trainer, Marc Rayner says, “These amazing students, daughters, mothers and grandmother assist the community as fully active firefighters and perform the same tasks as their male colleagues, responding day or night to assist as needed. The RFS promotes equal opportunity within the services and it’s not uncommon for women to be captains or deputy captains – it is logical that the best person be selected by their peers regardless of gender or background. Our brigade has a great track record of ordinary women, doing extraordinary things within the brigade and our local community – if you know any of these ladies, be sure to say thanks.”