Our History

It is suggested the Gembrook Rural Fire Brigade was first formed in 1939, however the Brigade’s earliest records have either been mislaid, lost or destroyed. Indications are that there were some local individuals who at least started moving toward the formation of a Gembrook Bush Fire Brigade in 1939 and what transpired over the next two to three years is not clear. However, official recognition of the Brigade’s existence is carried in the Country Fire Authority’s records showing the Brigade as being officially registered in March 1942 by the CFA’s predecessor; the Country Fire Brigades Board. When the Board became the CFA it follows that the registration obviously transferred to the CFA.

It is known that the Brigade’s first Captain was Mr E.A.C. (Bill) Russell who held that position for approximately 14 years (1939(?)-53) and then performed the role as Communications Officer for the next 10 years. His successors are acknowledged in the Honour Boards at the station.

While the Gembrook RFB Brigade is a fire brigade within the Country Fire Authority (CFA) organisation, it remains designated by the CFA as a rural fire brigade – albeit that it is often referred to as the ‘Gembrook CFA’ and signs positioned at the front of the station carry the CFA logo.

The Gembrook RFB was also member of the Victorian Rural Fire Brigades Association (VRFBA) and with that membership came the capacity to influence CFA Policy development through its input. The VRFBA had had a significant role in the development of the CFA Volunteer Charter.
In September 2008 the VRFBA and the Victoria Urban Fire Brigades Association (VUFBA) both of which were established under the Country Fire Authority Act, united to form a new body named the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV). Enormous advances in electronic communications and infrastructure across the state over the past decade or two made the unification of the two volunteer representative bodies an obvious and logical step forward into the future.
The VFBV is now the single and unified body representing all CFA volunteers to the CFA Board and Management and to Governments, Ministers, Members of Parliament councils and instrumentalities, business and the public.

The first fire station was built in 1952 on railway property on the corner of Main Road and Innes Road. It was a weatherboard structure with a corrugated asbestos cement roof measuring 24 feet by 16 feet (approx. 7.3 x 4.9 metres) costing about 350 pounds.
The brigade’s first fire fighting ‘appliance’ was a secondhand, one ton Dodge utility or pick up truck with 44 gallon drums filled with water on the back. Hand-in-hand with the basic facility to house the fire engine, the equipment was also extremely basic. Giving weight to this is the Property Officer’s Report of October 1949 that shows the Brigade’s assets consisted of:
Truck: 1 ton Dodge; BSA Pump; 17 Knapsacks (OK); 10 Knapsacks (doubtful); 1 Drip Torch; 18 Beaters; 5 Shovels; 6 Water Bags; 3 Wire Cutters; 3 Wedges; 6 Fern Hooks; 2 Crow Bars; First Aid kit.
A far cry indeed from the fire protection clothing, helmets, gloves, goggles and boots that are now standard issue to the volunteers who would think unimaginable to turn out to a fire with little more than a prayer and a pair of overalls.

Several local residents, concerned about the township’s need for better fire fighting equipment and facilities, started a fundraising campaign and a more ‘modern’ fire station. The result was the present fire station in Innes Road (just a few metres away from the original fire station).
The present fire station is located on land leased under an agreement with the Emerald Tourist Railway Board (established by the State Government under the the ETRB Act and administered by the Tourism Ministry).

Innes Road, Gembrook 3783

Phone 03 5968 1718