I grew up at my local Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade. As you would expect, the experience wasn’t always happy times. I still wouldn’t change my past for anything in the world. My Dad was our local Fire Warden, First Officer and My Hero. The Fire Station, our home.
When Mum and Dad moved from the Western Queensland dryness of Roma to the lushness of Park Ridge in the late 1960’s, they soon discovered that the area needed a fire service. I’m not sure who they approached as there was only one other house on the gumtree winding dirt track of Park Ridge road and the other fire stations weren’t built until late 1970’s – mid 1980’s. When the BrownsPlains fire station at Hillcrest was built,Park Ridge Volunteers became redundant. My Dad retired.
In that time our life was full of late night, early morning phone calls to fires in and around the area. Even weekends weren’t spared. If we did have a family gathering to go to later as we got older then Dad would ask the 2nd officer or one of the other volunteers to man the phones and rally the troupes if a call came through. Not very often was there no one available. Not in the dry season. It was all hands on deck.
The brigade acquired2nd hand equipment from Inner Brisbane Metro Brigades, like hoses, helmets and fire trucks. Once the word spread about our Volunteers we even had another officer from one of the Metro brigades join our Volunteers as he lived in the local area. Weekends were often filled with training exercises and we also had regular meetings in the kitchen concerning budgets and running costs, Or acquiring new members.
Sometimes the Volunteers would even assist other areas, including Northern New South Wales if it was needed. They even assisted with car fires if they were needed. On the fun side, we did see a lot of school fetes and fund raising raffles at shopping centre openings. So it wasn’t always doom and gloom. Dad and his crew brought a lot of joy to the community. Dad even played Santa at many Xmas gatherings around the area.
When the Park Ridge Rural Fire Brigade became redundant, all the volunteers went their own way and the equipment went to various places also. At the time I was still only a teenager so I didn’t pay much attention. I remember one Fire truck went to a museum (vaguely remember Ipswich/Gatton way) and the other became an icon upon the Salisbury Wreckers fence line on Mt Lindesay Hwy, Rocklea. Every time we drive past it reminds me of Dad and those days of my childhood.
Sadly both mum and dad passed away in 2004 and I often think it would be nice for the community to hear this part of our local History as not many people would realise how much Louis Charles (Mick) and Theadora Wrenn helped shape the local area.
I love Park Ridge and I love the small part that I’ve helped by being a part of the bigger picture.