Medals awarded as rural fire station’s new kitchen opens
IT WAS a triple celebration for the rural fire volunteers at Westwood on Saturday.
A new kitchen annex was unveiled as the community marked 65 years of its rural brigade, and volunteers received medals and plaques.
Chair of the Westwood brigade for 35 years, David Lawrie remembers how much community effort went into constructing the shed and maintaining it.
The grazier harked to the "good old" Friday nights when 50 to 100 people would visit the pub and buy meat raffle tickets to support the hall, the school and the fireys.
He said that fire events around the rural area, where his family grazes cattle, used to be caused by steam train engines.
"We didn't have radios and telephones," he said.
"We were happy with a wet bag and a 20-litre brass knapsack."
He also used the occasion to lend his voice to complaints from volunteers around Central Queensland.
"We used to do what we wanted without consultation with public servants," he said.
"Now we're too afraid to do anything because there are too many threats of litigation and arrest."
Mr Lawrie also gave the National Parks and Wildlife service a serve.
"It's an absolute disgrace how much unburnt fuel has built up in the parks over the years," he said.
"Sooner or later there'll be an inevitable firestorm - a whole town will go up in flames and it'll be all because of the National Parks."
QFES supervisors and Barry O'Rourke MP presented longserving volunteers, including current chair Darcy Martin, with medals after the kitchen was officially opened.