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70th Anniversary of the Muogamarra Rural Fire Brigade

27 June 2021

Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Energy and Environment) (19:39): I celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Muogamarra Rural Fire Brigade. For the past 70 years the brigade has served our community with the utmost distinction. The brigade was established in 1951 within the Muogamarra Nature Reserve by the reserve's founder, John D. Tipper. The brigade was located there for more than 20 years until it relocated in 1976 to a basic two‑bay station in Glendale Road. A kitchen and bathroom were added later. In 1991 the meeting room was constructed. The original fire station from the Muogamarra Reserve was relocated to Hornsby Heights, where it is now part of the Hornsby brigade's station, keeping the rich history of the brigade alive in our community. The campaigns the brigade has participated in over the years read like a roll call of courage: the Coonabarabran fires in 2006 and 2012, the Kurri Kurri fires in January 2017, and the Hawkesbury floods and the hailstorms of 2019 that devastated many parts of the Hornsby electorate. In August 2012 members boarded a goods train from Cowan railway station to extinguish a fire between the railway tunnels south of Brooklyn. 

The volunteers have always been willing to answer the call not only to bushfires but also to motor vehicle accidents, floods and storms. They have supported our local community, travelled interstate and to the farthest corners of New South Wales. They have saved lives, homes and infrastructure, for which I say an enormous thank you. During the horror of the 2019‑20 fire season, the Muogamarra brigade fought fires in campaigns from the Gold Coast to the Victorian border. In a truly incredible effort, in that season alone they accumulated over 4,500 hours of service and travelled 14,000 kilometres. For decades they have protected the jewel of the north—the Muogamarra Nature Reserve—from wildfire. Thanks in part to their efforts, the old‑man banksias and delicate native orchids survive and thrive while wedge‑tailed eagles soar overhead. There seems no limit to the brigade's resourcefulness and courage. However, service can come at great cost. In 1991 Syd Greathead died on duty at a fire in Fiddletown. Today we mourn his loss and stand in solidarity with his family. We acknowledge that service in the RFS comes with risk to life and limb, and that family time is foregone and weekends are sacrificed. 

Today I acknowledge every member of the Muogamarra Rural Fire Brigade and the families who support their amazing work. The brigade membership stands at 53, with 40 active members, following a large recruitment in 2020. The volunteers are led and supported by Captain Gordon Morgan, Senior Deputy Captain Gus Gulicher, deputy captains James Leitch, Sacha Price, Peter Rosee, Darren Irwin, Daryl Johnson, Jack Barnett, Anthea Roache, Bruce Wooldridge and Jack Stoner. I acknowledge the amazing service of Jack Barnett. For 60 years Jack has served not only the Muogamarra Rural Fire Brigade but also our community with distinction. It is an amazing achievement and an amazing example of dedicated community service. I continue the call for the members of the Muogamarra RFS to keep volunteering because we will need them in the future as much as we need them now. On behalf of every person in the Hornsby community I extend sincere and grateful thanks to the amazing volunteers of the Muogamarra Rural Fire Brigade for 70 years of outstanding service. They do so much for our community in Hornsby and for our State of New South Wales. Our community and our country are better because of their service.