In 1861 at about 11 PM on Wednesday 23rd of January, The Freemans Hotel in Daylesford caught fire and in no time at all, the wooden part of the building was completely destroyed. That Friday in a letter to the Daylesford Express, Mr J H Lerich suggested that an “organisation” should be set up in Daylesford to fight such fires – and so the Daylesford Fire Brigade was born.
On Friday March 10 the Daylesford Express reported that a meeting had been held to form a fire brigade and a committee was appointed. The first monthly meeting was held in May of that year and in the absence of Captain Henshaw, Lieutenant Birten presided. An engine house was proposed with a warning bell, the station cost without a bell was quoted at £ 50.
The first Fire engine was purchased from Williamstown Council for the cost of £100 complete with 250 feet of leather hose. At this time the brigade consisted of 15-20 men and 6 ‘light’ boys who ran ahead of the brigade at night to light the way.
The brigade’s first big test was on 09 April 1865 when four shops caught fire.
The building in this photograph was built in 1906 and was the third building to house the fire brigade, the first being on the corner of Victoria & Bridport Streets. This building now houses the Regional Tourist Centre.
Taken in 1923
In 1970 the arches on the doors were modified so as to take the new style Bedford tankers.
In 1969 a fish and chip shop in Vincent Street caught fire, being a Friday night most of the members were in the Victoria Hotel having a beer. On being alerted to the incident the members ran down the street to engage the fire, only to find no one had brought the trucks so members had to dash back to the station to get them.
In 1992 the CFA started talking to Telecom about the purchase of a property from them in Bridport Street to house a new fire station, this station was opened in April 1997 and in 2011 the brigade celebrated its 150 year anniversary .
The Fire brigade’s bell was made in Sheffield England and delivered in 1870 it remained outside former fire station until 1989. In 2005 it was erected at the new station.
The above excerpts are taken from the Daylesford Fire Brigade history 1861 - 2011 this book is available from the Daylesford secretary on the contacts page