Past and present Bulli firefighters reunite for major milestone

The Bulli firefighters who have protected and served their community for 100 years have been recognised and celebrated on Friday.

NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Paul Baxter joined past and present firefighters to thank them for their service and celebrate the centenary of Bulli Fire Brigade.

Station officer Tony Powell said 100 years ago a group of like-minded residents banded together, acquired some equipment and formed the Bulli Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The fire station opened in 1924.

"Firefighting, like Bulli, has changed dramatically in the past 100 years from increased roles to new techniques," Mr Powell said.

"However, one thing has remained the same - whether it be volunteers, retained or permanent firefighters - the majority of those who have served live in Bulli.

"Bulli is still a station where the firefighters are locals serving the community where they live."

Guests at Friday's celebration shared stories of Bulli's firefighting history, which began after the Fire Brigades Act was extended to the Bulli-Woonona Shire in October 1918.

Members of the newly-formed fire brigade received their initial training in January 1919 and Thomas Conley was chosen as the first captain.

Captain Conley even offered his own car for use in emergencies until a motor fire engine could be made available, proposing that his vehicle be used to tow the hose reel to and from fires.

From these humble beginnings, the brigade has become a vital part of the local community, responding to major fires, storms, road crashes and other emergencies.

Past and present firefighters gathered to celebrate the centenary of the Bulli fire brigade. Picture: Adam McLean

Past and present firefighters gathered to celebrate the centenary of the Bulli fire brigade. Picture: Adam McLean

Zone commander for the Illawarra Tony Waller said the centenary celebration was a chance for the Bulli firefighters to reflect on their service.

"It is also important for the community to reflect on the role firefighters play because in times of hardship the community turns to firefighters," he said.

"The ceremony is a nice chance for the older guys to reunite too."

Commissioner Paul Baxter said the Bulli firefighters had a rich history in the community, especially given how the brigade formed.

"A group of like-minded locals came together to start the brigade," he said.

"One hundred years is a milestone and the brigade is still here.

"One thing that hasn't changed is the courage and commitment of our firefighters and we are incredibly proud of them all.

"The brigade has been a part of the fabric of the community and it is important to acknowledge its contribution."

Mr Baxter said firefighters' roles had changed so much and they no longer just fight fires.

"Firefighters see their role as problem solving," he said. "If you call us, we will come and fix the problem."

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This story Past and present Bulli firefighters reunite for major milestone first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

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