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Retired Rochester volunteer donates uniforms

Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society has a new display to commemorate the service of dedicated district volunteer Ken Major.

ELAINE COONEY June 18, 2014 3:10am

Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society president Lorraine Haines and Ken Major with his old St John Ambulance and fire brigade uniforms. Photo: Elaine Cooney


Retired Rochester volunteer Ken Major handed over his old uniforms to the Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society earlier in the month.

‘‘I had outgrown them and left the organisation. They were just taking up room in my cupboard,’’ he said.

‘‘People later on can see what us old buggers had to go through.’’

Mr Major joined the Rochester Fire Brigade in 1951 when he was 15 years old and St John Ambulance in the late 1950s.

He spent 38 years in the fire brigade; 15 in St John Ambulance; 38 in the SES, which he retired from last year; and was a volunteer ambulance driver with the Rural Ambulance Service.

Mr Major said he did not know where he found the time to volunteer because he worked full-time as a builder.

He attended Rochester’s major fires; the Murray Goulburn fire 1983 and the Rochester high school fire in 1982.

He said he had seen decades of change within the fire brigade and believed it was now a better service.

‘‘Before you used to go around the Rochester district now you go anywhere; you could be needed interstate,’’ he said.

He said fire had no boundaries.

‘‘In the olden days we had little equipment.

‘‘We had to fundraise for everything.’’

He remembered the Rochester Apex Club donating the brigade’s first fog nozzle.

The first truck was an army disposal truck with a 200-litre water tank.

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