Fire station a focal point

Wodonga and Towong Sentinel 14 Jan 1938

“The Country Fire Brigades’ Board has notified Shire Council that it is prepared to accept the transfer, free of cost, of a part of the allotment in High Street (near Mr A J Schlink’s residence) and will agree to erect a new fire station thereon, during the next 12 months.”

At the opening celebratory dinner, the President of the Country Fire Brigade Board said the board had no hesitation in providing the Wodonga Brigade with a station when they saw their way clear to do so, they had been disgusted with the old one.

The new fire station which opened in 1940 was built at an estimated cost of £1200 by Mr J Clift, of Essendon. The building, of brick, was on the northern side of the Infant Welfare Centre in High Street. It consisted of an Appliance Room for housing the fire engine and plant 45ft long and 22ft 6ins wide, and with a floor specially treated that it may on occasion be used for dancing.  A Meeting Room on the northern side, 15ft x 13 ft, a station-keeper’s bedroom, 13ft x 10ft, a kitchen and a workshop, a shower room and a store room completed the building.

Over a period of years the members of Wodonga Fire Brigade had been remarkably successful at various competitions and demonstration with the result that they had an array of trophies to their credit. At their own cost the present members provided an appropriate display case attached to the back wall to display their existing trophies and large enough for more in the future.

It was not until February 1943 that a telephone was installed at the fire station, but as it was unmanned during the day it had an extension to the B&B Café. For reasons unknown, the electric fire siren was controlled from the Post Office, which was on the corner of South and High Streets at the time.  One assumes as there was a station keeper’s bedroom, the phone and siren were controlled from the station overnight.

I have been told that Tuesday nights saw Euchre being played.  Admission was two shillings.  Ladies without transport were collected in the fire truck and taken home after. The proceeds went towards equipment for the fire brigade.