79 Schotters Road, Mernda, Victoria

The Brigade

A brief history of the Mernda Fire Brigade

The Mernda Rural Fire Brigade was originally part of the Doreen District Rural Fire Brigade, which was formed in 1942.

A public meeting, chaired by Cr. L.Mitchell, was held on 1st October 1971 in the Mernda Mechanics Institute with the view of forming a Fire Brigade in the Mernda township.

At the meeting a motion was moved by R. O’Donnell and seconded by J. Smith that a rural fire brigade be formed in Mernda, to be known as “Mernda Rural Fire Brigade” The Motion was carried with 34 in favour and 6 against.

After several submissions to the Country Fire Authority (CFA) the Mernda Rural Fire Brigade was officially registered as a brigade with CFA on 29th October 1973. 

The elected office bearers being:
President                                 J. Fyfe
Captain                                    J.Fyfe
1st Lieut.                                  C.Fagan
2nd Lieut.                                 J.Gower
3rd Lieut.                                  J.Smith
Communications Officer        N.Benson
Apparatus Officer                   J.Fitzgerald
Secretary                                 R.O’Donnell

Some of those in attendance at the formation:
J.McPhee                   Whittlesea Captain
T.Harrington              Group Officer (Diamond Creek)
J.Marks                      Diamond Creek Captain
L.Williamson              South Morang Captain
A.Brock                      Doreen Captain

Of these:

  • John Gower, originally with Doreen Brigade has continued with Mernda since its formation and has been awarded a Life Membership of the Mernda Brigade and made an Honorable life member of the CFA. The Brigade’s Firefighter of the Year was awarded in his honour from 2018 onwards.
  • Jack Marks, later joined Mernda and also became a life member of the Brigade and an Honorable Life Member of the CFA.
  • Lindsay Williamson, an Honorable Life Member of the CFA also joined Mernda. The Engine Bay of the current Station is named in his honour.

Appliances & Gear

The Brigade was originally issued with 12 beaters, 6 knapsacks and a Small Town Trailer.

The brigade’s original vehicles were a 1955 Dodge Fargo and a 1959 Austin Small Town Tanker, built by the Doreen and District Brigade, which were on permanent loan to the Mernda Brigade.  The Austin was housed in an old bush shed behind the Mernda Mechanics Institute on the corner of Bridge Inn road and Plenty Road, with the Fargo housed in Bob Fletcher’s shed beside the Post Office on Schotters Road.

The Fargo was later replaced with an Austin built by the Mernda Brigade and was fondly known in the area as the “Dunny Cart”. This was the first of several trucks built by the brigade including an “S” model and later a “TK” model Bedford with a 1200 gallon tank.  This truck was retired in 1994 and replaced with a brigade built 1100 Ltr. Ford Trader twin cab which was retired in 2008.  These trucks were purchased and fitted out through fund raising by the Brigade Ladies Auxiliary and Social Committee, not to mention the many hours of work put in by members. The first CFA provided vehicle was a 400 gallon 1968 Austin issued in 1978 and this was replaced in 1988 with a 2000 Ltr. Isuzu Tanker.

In 2018, the brigade made a significant step towards being seen as an Urban Brigade with the CFA supplying the brigade with a new Medium Pumper on a Scania Cab Chassis.

The brigade also purchased through community funding a Toyota utility for the transportation of crews and equipment and was replaced with a SsangYong utility. This was later replaced with a 79 Series Toyota Landcrusier before we moved to a CFA Standard-build Ford Ranger FCV.

Between 2015-2018, Mernda Brigade began to advocate the concept of Firefighter Rehabilitation within CFA and was one of first brigades in the state to start a Rehab Unit – based originally out of the back of the Landcruiser FCV and the old Steak Sandwich Trailer. With the assistance of community fundraising, a VESEP grant and the support of District 14, the brigade purchased a custom-designed Rehab Support appliance on a Canter cab chassis. This appliance became the prototype for all future Rehabilitation Support vehicles that have been delivered around the state.

The Station

The original station of the Mernda Rural Fire Brigade was a bush shed situated at the eastern side of the Mechanics Institute at the corner of Plenty and Bridge Inn Roads. This shed was sold by tender in 1977 and relocated to a property at Wollert where it still stands today.

In June 1976, the CFA issued the brigade with their first official fire station, “a tin shed” which had no amenities, not even a toilet. The brigade arranged to pick up the Fire Station from the manufacturer and was erected by the members on the current site on Schotters Road over the weekend of June 19th & 20th 1976.  This was later replaced with a new colourbond station and was officially opened on 10th April 1988 following extensive brigade fund raising and capital support from the CFA.  The original CFA tin station was dismantled and moved to Springfield by the members of the Springfield Fire Brigade. 

The lining of the colourbond station, erection of garages and other upgrading of the station, trucks and equipment have been continuously carried out by the brigade members over the years with their many hours of dedication and the generosity of the community through donations and their valued assistance.

Given the expansion and infrastructure of the Mernda area, a new modern 3-bay station was erected by the CFA  in 2009 and was officially opened on 10th October 2009.