Fire Restrictions in Force

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 Brigade Logo.

1851 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 up.
1864 Mill fire sometime after it was built in this year.
1899 Mill again gutted by fire.
1904 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.
1905 Fire started on the northern slopes of the black ranges and was finally brought under control between Riddells Creek and Clarkefield.
1906 Disastrous flood – many buildings damaged, particularly Smith’s nursery.
1928 Cottage on the Yaamba property was destroyed by fire.
1939 Black Friday.
1940’s Warehouse, near where Poulton’s now is was partially burnt out.
1943 Flax Mill Fire.
1945 Flax Stack Fire.
1947 1 July – Train crash between Railway Station and the Bridge over Sunbury Road.
1950’s Brigade gets own bell.
1961 January – the township was saved by 100 firefighters fighting a fierce bushfire which descended down Mt Robertson. There was no loss of life.
1981 3 January – 120 year old Pub burnt down.
26 January – large fire between Gisborne and Sunbury burnt through brigade area along Sunbury/Riddell Road.
1982 New Truck 3.4 International. At time 20 years since brigade had had a new truck.
1983 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 Scout Camp.
1984 New Station opened.
1985 New Truck 3.4 Hino – 4×4 Tanker.
1990 15 July – Scout Hall burnt down due to arson.
Fire near Pierce road.
1990/91 Gap Road fires.
1994 NSW Port Stephens and Gosford Striketeams.
1997 January – Old Duck Farm fire – Main road.
NSW Lithgow Striketeams.
1998 Major plantation fire at Macedon.
2001/02 NSW Hawkesbury Striketeams.
2003 North East and Gippsland fires. Riddell tanker 1 committed for 88 days. 30 personnel from the brigade gave time to assist at these fires.
2003 New 4 x 4 ISUZU Tanker arrives. Replaces our 18 year old Hino.
2004 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.
2005 Brigade owned tanker retrofitted to become a “Pumper Tanker” to better serve the urban area of the town.
2006 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 Melbourne.
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.
2006/07 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.
2009 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.
2013 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 bushfire.
2014 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.
2014 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.
2014 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 4×4 ‘Medium Tanker’ arrived in July and contained all of the latest state-of-the-art safety features.
2014 Riddells Creek ‘Pumper Tanker’ vehicle is swapped for a newer ‘Light Pumper’ vehicle with the Pyramid Hill Fire Brigade.