Fire Brigade (Volunteer) was formed in 1860, almost a
year before Queensland had become a separate state to
New South Wales. Brisbane was first occupied as a penal
colony in 1825 with the last of the convicts being
removed in 1939, why Brisbane waited for so long for a
Fire Brigade can not be understood however the small
population and financial circumstances all would have
played a part.
And so began Fire Service's in Brisbane and Queensland
not long after. . .
fire services of Queensland
were provided through 81 local Fire Brigade Boards until
1990 with the urban and rural services operating as
separate organisations. In 1990, the Fire Services Act
was proclaimed replacing the boards and creating a
single statewide Queensland Fire Service incorporating
Rural Fire Division.
Following a review of the Queensland Fire Service in
1996, it was established as a statutory authority and
renamed Queensland Fire and Rescue Authority.
amalgamation of the various bodies into Queensland
Ambulance Service and what is now Queensland Fire and
Rescue Authority provided a platform for integrated
services across the State. It ensured that variations in
the standard and level of service to the community were
reduced or eliminated.
The Emergency Services
Legislation Amendment Act 1998 established the Emergency
Services Advisory Council to provide advice to the
Minister on the extent to which current service delivery
satisfies community needs. The
Emergency Services Advisory Council
includes representatives from major stakeholder groups
such as the Local Government Association of Queensland,
relevant major unions, Local Ambulance Committees,
business communities, universities and the rural sector.
We have come a long way.
Click here to
go to the Community page and take control of an
interactive scrolling timeline showcasing photos of the
Emergency Services' involvement in the community - right
back to the 1800s!
books can be purchased from the museum
in the following books,
Brisbane on Fire
which provide a complete history of fire services in
Brisbane from 1860 to 1990. The books are co-authored by
former fire brigade
Superintendent Kevin Calthorpe
and his brother-in-law
1860 - 1925
by K.D. Calthorpe and K. Capell
on Fire recounts the history of the Brisbane fire
brigade from the days of the first volunteer brigade in
1860, through the early years of Brisbane's Metropolitan
Fire Brigade up until 1925.
includes the years when firefighters turned out to
incidents on horse-drawn firefighting appliances, the
construction of Brisbane's first fire stations, the
first Brisbane firefighter to be killed in the line of
duty and the introduction of motorised fire engines.
also contains photographs and details of some of
Brisbane's early blazes - and the firefighters who
battled to contain them.
hardcover, 239 page book can be purchased from author
Ken Capell by phoning 61 7 3397 7950.
1921 - 1990
by K.D. Calthorpe and K. Capell
period of 90 years, more than 1900 officers and
firefighters of the Brisbane Metropolitan Fire Brigades
dealt with more than a quarter of a million fire calls.
Brisbane Ablaze tells the story of their answer to the
call of duty. The book also traces their battle for
is told through a combination of newspaper reports,
official fire brigade records and tales from the
firefighters and officers of the brigade, bringing to
life some of the characters, incidents and events that
shaped the development of what is now part of the
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
Ablaze recounts hundreds of Brisbane's biggest and most
tragic fires and features over ten pages of names of
member of the Brisbane Metropolitan Fire Brigade and two
full pages of firies nicknames.
About the Authors
Kevin Calthorpe joined the
Brisbane Metropolitan Fire Brigade as a probationer in
1952. Before retiring in 1989, he had reached the rank
of Superintendent and was awarded the Australian Fire
Services Medal for his outstanding contribution to the
Kevin did not live to see the publication of these
books, neither book would have become reality without
his vision and research. Kevin was so respected by his
peers that many of them referred to his as Mister Fire
Station Officer Kevin Calthorpe overcome by a sense of
helplessness after attempting to rescue a small boy at
the Heidilberg Street fire in East Brisbane, 1965.
Ken Capell retired from his
position as Senior Lecturer in the Department of
Mathematics at the University of Queensland after 35
years of service at the University. He holds the degree
of Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics and
gained publishing experience by producing mathematics
text book Dynamics of a Particle.
Calthorpe's brother-in-law, Dr Capell has had a
long-standing interest in the history of the Brisbane