The Riddells Creek Fire Brigade’s proud history
now spans over a century. After being established in 1904 by Walter
J Smith, the brigade became known as the first ‘bushfire brigade’
in the commonwealth!
During the 2004 Centenary celebrations, brigade
member Terri Boydle and a committed research team compiled an impressive
publication which details the 100 year history of firefighting in
Riddells Creek. The hardbound colour book also explores not only
the history of the fire brigade, but the rich history of the township
itself and features the new Riddell's Creek Fire
Significant Dates in Riddell Fire Brigade History
6 February - Black Thursday. Large fire near Cairn
Hill, home of John Carre Riddell. Fire was so intense that birds
dropped from trees, many animals succumbed and vegetation dried
Mill fire sometime after it was built in this year
Mill again gutted by fire
Bush fire brigade set up upon initiation of Walter J. Smith,
of the nursery. He became the brigades first Captain. It was
the first to be established in the Commonwealth. Transport to
the fires in these early years was on horseback and broom beaters
were used to fight the fires.
Fire started on the northern slopes of the black ranges and
was finally brought under control between Riddells Creek and
Disastrous flood - many buildings damaged, particularly Smith’s
Cottage on the Yaamba property was destroyed by fire.
Warehouse, near where Poulton’s now is was partially
Flax Mill Fire
Flax Stack Fire
1 July - Train crash between Railway Station and the Bridge
over Sunbury Road.
Brigade gets own bell
January - the township was saved by 100 firefighters fighting
a fierce bushfire which descended down Mt Robertson. There was
no loss of life
3 January - 120 year old Pub burnt down
26 January - large fire between Gisborne and Sunbury burnt
through brigade area along Sunbury/Riddell Road
New Truck 3.4 International. At time 20 years since brigade
had had a new truck
1 February - Fire at Mt Macedon destroyed 18 houses. 60 people
took refuge in the Riddells Creek School after evacuating their
houses. “It was not long before the entire range became
an inferno as it spread toward Riddells Creek”. Houses
were lost in Riddells Creek in Yaamba Road and Mt Charlie Road,
which included the Yaamba homestead.
6 bulldozers, 76 tankers, RAAF Hercules “Mad Dog”
aircraft, 2 helicopters and 2 light aircraft dropped retardants.
16 February - Ash Wednesday. 28 houses lost in shires of Gisborne,
Newham - Woodend and Romsey. All the houses in the Romsey Shire
were in Riddells Creek and included several buildings at Rowallen
New Station opened
New Truck 3.4 Hino - 4x4 Tanker
15 July - Scout Hall burnt down - arson.
Fire near Pierce road
Gap Road fires
NSW Port Stephens and Gosford Striketeams
January - Old Duck Farm fire - Main road
NSW Lithgow Striketeams
Major plantation fire at Macedon.
NSW Hawkesbury Striketeams
North East and Gippsland fires. Riddell tanker 1 committed
for 88 days. 30 personnel from the brigade gave time to assist
at these fires.
New 4 x 4 ISUZU Tanker arrives. Replaces our 18 year old Hino.
The Riddells Creek Rural Fire Brigade celebrate their centenary!
A large torchlight parade throughout the township in November
brings together firefighters from far and wide, an array of
modern day and historic firefighting vehicles and representation
from our fellow emergency services.
Brigade owned tanker retrofitted to become a "Pumper
Tanker" to better serve the urban area of the town.
January - Striketeams to Halls Gap and Anakie in late January
as several large fires erupt across Victoria.
March - Brigade member Alex Batty is chosen from 50’000
CFA Volunteers to fly the flag at the Commonwealth Games in
October - Royal Parade Fire. Several hectares are destroyed
in private property in a forest fire during October. The severity
of the drought was clearly evident due to the unusually early
start to the fire season.
Strike teams to the North East Alps and Gippsland areas as
1.2million hectares burn through national and state parks.
Riddell Tanker committed to the campaign during December.
February 7, Black Saturday Fires. As many as 400 fires were
recorded across Victoria on this day. 173 Victorian lives were
lost and over 2030 homes were destroyed. The nearest of the
fires to Riddells Creek was the Kilmore East fire which was
responsible for the destruction at in the Kinglake area.
Firefighters, fire appliances and "Catering and Support"
personnel from the brigade assisted with this fire on the day
and for the week which followed.
February 9, Kerrie Fire. 60 hectares of private bushland
was burnt near the corner of Romsey Road and Kerrie Valley Road,
Kerrie. The fire started late in the afternoon and up to 40 CFA
and DSE fire crews worked into the night to contain the
February 9, Dalrymple Road Fire. After starting at
Dalrymple Road near Gisborne South, this fire was initially
fanned by strong, hot north-westerly winds. It was only a matter
of time before the anticipated south-westerly wind change
arrived which turned the fire towards Riddells Creek. By the end
of the day, 2,500 hectares of grassland had been burnt and the
fire travelled all the way to the edge of the township.
Approximately 120 fire trucks and several water bombing
helicopters battled the fire in an attempt to save the township
and managed to halt the fire at Campbells Road and Sutherlands
Road. Unfortunately 5 homes were destroyed in the Gisborne South
/ Sunbury and Riddells Creek area.
Station broken into which see's the brigade owned 'FCV' ute
stolen and later set fire to. Total theft and damage bill valued
at around $100,000
New brigade-owned fire truck arrives. After more than a
decade spent fundraising, the fire brigade were finally able to
purchase an additional fire truck for the brigade. The $340,000
4x4 'Medium Tanker' arrived in July and contained all of
the latest state-of-the-art safety features.
Riddells Creek 'Pumper Tanker' vehicle is swapped for a
newer 'Light Pumper' vehicle with the Pyramid Hill Fire Brigade.