Local News at Your Fingertips

Rendelsham EFS Fire Truck preserved for history – updated

Rendelsham EFS as New

           L-R Capt Alby Gurney, Chief Fire Officer Bob Munro, Beachport Council Rep Brian De Courcey-Ireland

               Millicent Mayor Gladys Smith, Sec. Colin Nilsson

(photo provided by Rendelsham CFS –  delivery of the former No 34)

by Belinda Elton 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow  

Source: Rendelsham CFS, SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum,  Cliff  Elton, Contributor: S Lowe

Rendelsham EFS Fire Truck  (VL5IL) was donated to the SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum on Friday 18th October 2013  after serving the community for many years, including active service on Ash Wednesday 30 years ago. In recent weeks Rendelsham CFS members John Elton, Randall Stiles, Eddy Hann, Rob Howells, Iain Stewart and Rendelsham resident Rick Brooks have been putting the old EFS fire truck back together so it can take its place in history in the Museum at Naracoorte.

The Bedford truck was purchased new in 1971 by the Rendelsham EFS Brigade with funds from the Millicent Council, Beachport Council, Sale of the old Toyota appliance and money raised by the Rendelsham Community. The truck was built in England, shipped to Australia to General Motors in Adelaide and from there it was sold to Aslin Motors in Millicent. The mechanic who did the pre-delivery work on the truck was local man Mr Mike Kemp who worked for Aslin Motors at the time; Mr Kemp is now the Wattle Range Group Officer for the CFS. The truck was converted to a fire appliance by P A Wotton Uraidla SA.

The former Rendelsham Fire Appliance, was  part of the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 and will be the second fire appliance housed in the museum that was involved in Ash Wednesday. The OB Flat appliance used in Ash Wednesday fires, is also housed in the Museum.

On Ash Wednesday, No 34 left Rendelsham around 11.00am with Cliff Elton captain, Eddy Hann, John Tenney, Iain Stewart and driver Richard Brooks on board; headed to Furner and down the Mt. Bruce Road to Oakley’s, they returned to Hatherleigh where they went to Bateman’s then followed through to John Bowman at Sebastopol then followed the fire around the back of Mt. Graham; from there they went to the Mt.Burr Mill.

There was a shift change about 6.30pm when another team of volunteers took over. The aim that day was just to save as much property as possible because it was too hard to contain the fire. The truck was also used the following week in the mopping up process.

It was eventually taken out of service in 1991 and was sold in a Millicent Council Auction where it was purchased by the Gilbertson family who used the truck on their farm, removing the pump and the sides, to use it as a tray top. Don & Brett Gilbertson recently decided to donate the truck to the SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum.

A small team of Rendelsham CFS volunteers put the fire truck back together in preparation for the hand over to the Museum. The work consisted of welding the sides back onto the tray and installation of the original water pump, followed up by a good clean up. The sides and the pump had been removed while being used on the farm, but were kept by the Gilbertson family so the truck is now back in its original state.’

The truck will receive a further makeover when it reaches Naracoorte,  which will include putting the name “RENDELSHAM EFS” back on the unit after it has been sand blasted and repainted by a Naracoorte CFS member who is an apprentice panel beater.

Photos by Belinda Elton

The SA CFS Firefighters Museum:

A working party of CFS, CFSVA volunteers and staff was formed in February 2006 to decide how best to preserve the significant heritage of the CFS and they decided to establish the Museum. This museum is presently leasing a large pavilion at the former Naracoorte Showgrounds which houses the out of service appliances. The sheds are located on the corner of Smiths and Sandstone Avenue in Naracoorte. Steps are being taken to house a permanent public display of historic fire-fighting vehicles, CFS uniforms, photographs and other memorabilia from all parts of SA at the Museum in Naracoorte. An application has been made for a block of land in Smith Street to build a purpose-built pavilion for the State museum costing about $360,000. They hope it will be finished in 18 months if all goes to plan. This museum relies on fundraising and government grants to operate.

Photos: Belinda Elton

The Hand-over:

President of the Rendelsham Sport & Progress Association Mr Randall Stiles, who also took part in the restoration project,  presented a $500.00 cheque, donated by the Rendelsham Sports and Progress and Association, to Rex Hall Chairman of the SA Volunteer Fire Museum for the remaining restoration of the truck.

Mr Stiles thanked Mr Hall for accepting the truck into the Museum and said the community was pleased that it would be saved and not become scrap metal; he thanked Don Gilbertson for donating the truck; and the CFS volunteers involved in putting it back together.

Rex Hall thanked Don Gilbertson for his contribution to the museum, Randall Stiles for the donation, Rendelsham CFS members for their time and commitment to this project and John Elton for arranging the donation of the truck to the museum.

Photos: Belinda Elton

Final Journey

The former No 34 left Rendelsham for the last time on Friday 18th October, transported by GE & RE Hage, its first port of call the annual Naracoorte Show where it will join the other units on parade and then it will be taken for the final stages of its renovation. The museum currently has 22 former fire appliances from different places around the State, ranging from the years 1947 to 1990.

Earlier this year Rendelsham took delivery of their first new truck since the Bedford 42 years ago.  (below)


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