Geelong City Fire Brigade marks 170th anniversary

June 22, 2024 BY

Several awards were given out as part of the 170 year celebration. Photos: SUPPLIED

THE Geelong City Fire brigade have celebrated 170 years of service in the community.

They were the first established volunteer fire brigade in Australia and came together to mark the milestone on Saturday.

The brigade formed in 1854 with minimal equipment before purchasing a hook and ladder carriage in July and their first fire engine, which arrived two years later.

“Over the first 90 years of the brigade’s existence, the brigade provided protection for Geelong through many dedicated volunteers,” Geelong City Fire Brigade Captain Jeremy Egan said.

“When we walk through our station, we see photos and memorabilia of so many who came before us.”

The brigade have battled many local fires over the years, as well as historic bushfires including Ash Wednesday and the 2019/2020 Black Summer fires, being deployed across the state in times of need.

As part of the celebrations over the weekend, the brigade commissioned two awards in recognition of operational attendance and overall brigade support.

L-R: Ethan Bishop (left) received the Paterson Family Memorial Firefighter of the Year award. 


Ethan Bishop received the Paterson Family Memorial Firefighter of the Year award, in honour of John Paterson Senior, a founding brigade member in 1854.

Mr Bishop was lauded for turning out to as many calls as possible, assisting with hose repair at his station and Geelong West and always putting his hand up to get involved.

He was inspired to join the CFA by his dad who was a member for 39 years.

Mr Bishop said receiving the award came as a bit of shock to him.

“For me, [the award] shows how far I’ve come with my own personal development in the firefighter community, the skills I’ve learnt, and none of it would have been achievable if it wasn’t for the people I’ve met.”

“I found that since joining I love what I do, I love the work I do with the community, the people I’ve met along the way, it’s been an absolutely fantastic journey so far.”

Ikuo Yazawa was the recipient of the The Captain’s Encouragement Award, the Captain George Murphy Memorial Award.

Awarded by the brigade’s captain, the award recognised Mr Yazawa’s dedication to turning out for calls and the work he does behind the scenes.

L-R: First Lieutenant Andrew Tonkin with award recipient Ikuo Yazawa and Lucas Nanninga.


Mr Yazawa joined the brigade in September 2021 said he was honoured to receive the award.

“I think this was very much a team effort because it represents the hard work and support of so many of the people around me who trained me up and mentored me and also supported me through this whole journey.

“I’m grateful for this recognition and it inspires me to do better every time.”

Lieutenant Lucas Nanninga was awarded with the National Service Medal.

David Bendle received the 35-year CFA Long Service Medal, Lieutenant Andrew Tonkin received the 20 year Long Service Medal, and Josh Oates and Wes Monts received a five-year certificate.