Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Decades of CFA dedication

Yarroweyah Country Fire Authority volunteers were recognised for long service.

TONI BRIENT January 16, 2014 11:31am

Decades of dedication: (from right) Les Chandler, Ken Black, Ed Reilly and Andrew Jobling have been recognised for long service to Yarroweyah CFA.

When you ask the older brigade members at Yarroweyah Country Fire Authority why they’ve served for so long, they seem a bit confused.

Les Chandler, Ken Black and Andrew Jobling said they had never considered the alternative.

Yarroweyah captain Les Chandler has spent more than half a century as a volunteer firefighter.

The former dairy farmer joined Yarroweyah CFA in 1976, after serving in a brigade in Gippsland for 14 years.

‘‘It’s one of those things; the comradeship in the brigade, and we have a lot of fun and enjoyment,’’ Mr Chandler said.

‘‘It’s hot, hard work at times, but we still manage to come out laughing.’’

For Mr Chandler, the most memorable exercise was the 2003 North East and Gippsland Floods.

‘‘We fought in this area and then we went to Gippsland,’’ he said.

‘‘We were flown from Shepp (Shepparton) down to Orbost.’’

Ken Black has served in the Yarroweyah brigade for 45 years, after joining aged 21.

‘‘I joined up because my father was in it — he was the secretary of the fire brigade — and it sort of lead from there,’’ Mr Black said.

The Third Lieutenant said he’d seen a lot of change in the brigade over the years, including the machinery it used before the current tanker trucks.

‘‘I can remember getting trailer units — that’s what we had originally,’’ he said.

‘‘Then we progressed to a truck, and built the first part of the shed we’ve got now, behind the hall.’’

Andrew Jobling said he also remembered when the new station was built during the ’70s.

‘‘Our (old) station had a tin roof with no walls at a dairy farm just down from the football ground,’’ Mr Jobling said.

Mr Jobling was brigade captain during the ’80s and ’90s, and has held lieutenant and group officer ranks.

He has been part of the Yarroweyah brigade for 45 years.

‘‘Actually, I was pushed into it,’’ he said.

‘‘A chap who lived over the road ... came around with a book and said, ‘Here, sign this. You’re now a member of the fire brigade’.’’

‘‘I always loved the brigade; the volunteer side of it.’’

Mr Black said he was pleased to watch the impact the brigade’s action had on the community.

‘‘We’ve been to floods and fires,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s house fires and hay shed fires and hay fires.

‘‘I think we do a great deal.’’

But he said he thought there was one thing the locals might like to change.

‘‘The siren wakes people up in the middle of the night,’’ Mr Black said.

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