The Morphett Vale CFS had its beginnings in 1944 when the Hunt Bros. Chaff mill on Beach Road was destroyed by fire. Following this event, a group of local men met in the Morphett Vale court house and formed the Morphett Vale & District Fire Fighting Association. The fire fighting equipment in those days consisted of forty-four gallon drums of water placed on milk stands around the district and knapsacks placed at various houses.
It was not until 1957 that the Morphett Vale and District Emergency Fire Service (E.F.S) was formed on the 8th of March at a special meeting held at the Morphett Vale Institute. Mr. Wilfred C. Taylor was elected Chairman. Vice-Chairman was Mr. R.C Duval and Mr. J. Parkin was the first secretary. The committee consisted of M.W. Hunt, J. Moore, H.W. Cox, J. Stanford, K. Booth, C.B. Griffen and A. Holly. The name of the unit was adopted on the motion of Mr. H.W. Cox.
Mr. Morris Hunt (previous Mayor and local farmer) offered a Marmon Herrington Ford four wheel drive vehicle at a cost of £120.0.0 – a back was built by the maintenance shop at the Emu Wine Company with materials donated by them. The truck was insured two years later for £750.0.0. It carried 600 gallons of water and had a top speed of 25 miles and hour, although at that speed the wheels would wobble excessively and the brakes wouldn’t stop you in an hurry. The truck was initially stored in a stable at the rear of the Emu Hotel, however due to vandalism it was later moved to a shed on the property of secretary Jack Parkin, this land would later become the Thaxted Park Golf Course.
Money was needed to buy a new pump and other equipment, and donations were collected from around the district. In December 1957 a Carols by Candlelight event was held at the Morphett Vale recreation ground. Well-known personality, Mr. Bob Moore was the compere. Admission was three shillings for adults and one shilling for children. £69-1-7 was raised.
On the 19th of March, 1957 Mr. P. Taylor was elected Chief Officer for the Brigade, Mr. H.W. Cox and Mr. R.C. Duval were appointed Deputy Chief Officers.
In 1959 the Morphett Vale and Districts E.F.S. Ladies Auxiliary was formed in conjunction with the Country Women’s Association. In another development in the same year a siren tower was set up at Rex Dawson’s B.P. Roadhouse Service Station. Rex received all fire calls and sounded the siren until it was shifted to the new Morphett Vale E.F.S. station in 1962.
Willmore and Randell Land Agents donated land in Gertrude St. Morphett Vale and in 1960/61 the first fire station was built by Mr. D.G. Provis and Mr. R.J. Collins. The station was large enough to house two fire trucks and cost £1036.0.0. To build.
The Morphett Vale and Districts E.F.S. was registered on 1 June 1960. In 1962 a 1947 Ford V8 ute was bought from L W Gassier Baker of Port Noarlunga for £70.0.0. The body was built by Bennetts Engineering and a pump and hose fitting added for a total cost of £985.0.0.
A 1947 Oldsmobile Cab/Chassis was donated to the Reynella station to be used as a fire truck. Mr. R Bowden spent £150.0.0 putting it in working order. A 100 gallon tank with a Villiers Motor and pump was fitted to the truck. This was used until it was sold in 1967. The tank and pump were then removed from the truck and fitted to a two – wheel trailer.
Over the next two years two vehicles were purchased. A J3 Bedford Cab/Chassis fitted with a water tank, capacity 350 gallons replaced the Marman Herrington Ford fire truck which was sold to Aldinga Plains E.F.S. A J5 Bedford Cab/Chassis was bought from Freeman Motors for £1514.0.0 with a body built by Smiths Motor Body Builders.
The Morphett Vale Fire Station had to be extended by ten feet to take the bigger fire truck and sliding wooden doors were fitted.
In 1965 the Reynella Fire Station was built in Walnut Street opposite Ron Bowdens Joinery at a cost of £239.0.0..
There had been a great deal of excitement in 1995/86 with the passing of Halley’s Comet close to earth. But in 1965 members of the Morphett Vale E.F.S. were treated to the sight of a comet much brighter than Halley’s. On the 5 November at 2.30am the fire service attended a haystack fire on Bains Road at Morphett Vale. They had extinguished the fire and were carting water from States Road when E.F.S. member Gus McLaren noticed a bright light in the sky. A comet was travelling across the sky from North to South. The tail was stretched out for hundreds of miles across the sky and was brighter than a full moon. It was still visible at 6.30am when the members were returning to the station. The comet was first seen on the 8 September, 1965 in the Northern Hemisphere in daylight by two Japanese astronomers named Ikeya and Seki and is thought to be the brightest comet ever seen.
In 1966 a base radio and three mobile radios were bought from Elizabeth Electronics at a cost of £600.0.0. The Morphett Vale Fire Station underwent renovations with the fitting of two roller doors to replace the sliding wooden doors fitted in 1963. The old doors were not wasted but were used on Ron Bowden’s Factory at Reynella. The purchase cost him £10.0.0..
A new fire truck was bought in the next year. This was a K.G.L. 7 ton Bedford Cab/Chassis fitted with a 10 h.p. Wisconsin and Pacific Pump Electric Start. The truck was fitted with two saddle tanks of 325 gallons capacity each. In 1968 a fire station was erected at Main South Road Hackham by Adam Engineering, on land belonging to the South Australian Railways and rented to the Noarlunga Council for $2.00 a year. The cost of the building was $384.00. In 1970 the Reynella and Hackham Fire Stations were registered as separate stations.
Also in 1968 an F545 Toyota Cab/Chassis was bought from British Motor Industries. The body was built by Mike Lentis of Morphett Vale Crash Repairs. The 10 h.p. Wisconsin Pump and Rex Pump were taken off the old 1947 Ford Fire truck which was sold to Mike Lentis and converted into a tow truck. In 1969 a new Three Phase siren was bought for the Morphett Vale Fire Station. A mobile crane was needed to put the siren in position.
In 1970 the Morphett Vale, and Districts E.F.S. was changed to the Morphett Vale, Reynella, Hackham E.F.S. (Inc). Mr. H.W Cox was nominated by the Noarlunga Council to District Supervisor, he remained the Chief Officer of the Morphett Vale brigade as well. In 1971 a K.E.L. Bedford Cab/Chassis was purchased and two 200-gallon saddle tanks were fitted. A galvanised iron shed was built on the Eastern side of the Morphett Vale Fire Station to house the 7 ton Bedford truck. In the same year one of the larger fires in the area broke out. It was a grass fire on Range Road at Morphett Vale and burnt from 15.20 hours on 19 February to 06.45 hours on 21 February. Twelve months later a grass fire in the Onkaparinga Gorge kept fire fighters busy from 22.40 hours on 1 February to 01.05 hours on 3 February. Fourteen units were involved in fighting the blaze. Also in 1971 Council appointed another member of the Morphett Vale Brigade, Mr. Ron Bowden, to the position of Deputy District Supervisor. He retained this rank until 1980 when he gained the position of District Supervisor, from Harry Cox who retired in 1986. Mr. Bowden established the City of Noarlunga Country Fire Service Group and was elected Group Officer, holding that position until 1991 when he retired because of mandatory age criteria. In 1986 Mr. Alan Lawrence from the Morphett Vale Brigade was elected as a Deputy Group Officer.
The E.F.S. however, did not confine itself to fighting grass fires. On 11 May 1976 a fire was reported at J. & B. Plastics on O’Sullivan’s Beach Road at Lonsdale. Six units attended and fireman fought the blaze for two hours. The building was totally destroyed. Fire broke out at Dungey’s Road House, a well known local landmark, just four days later and was attended by 6 F.C.O.’s and 15 fireman. In July of the same year a fire was reported at the Candle Factory in Corn Street, Reynella. A crew of 3 F.C.O’s and 6 fireman attended but the factory was completely burnt out. Literally a case of burning the candle at both ends. Probably the biggest fire was in December 1978 when 20 to 25 hectares were burnt out in an area off Cox’s Hill Road at Morphett Vale. This was attended by 1D.D.F.C.O., 1 C.F.O., 3 F.C.O’s., 2 Fire Party Leaders and approximately 50- 60 fireman. In 1972 the Radio System was changed from H.F. to V.H.F. – the old radios were sold to the District Council of Morgan, the District Council of Yankalilla and Jervois E.F.S.
Two sets of breathing apparatus were bought from Protector Safety at a cost of $630.00. On the 10th June 1972 there was a bomb scare at Sola International at Lonsdale. A crew of C.F.O., 5 F.C.O’s and 14 fireman stood by from 14.40 hours to 16.25 hours. The call proved to be a hoax.
In 1973 a K.E.L. 5 Bedford Cab/Chassis was purchased and built into a fire truck. A Magirus Pump was fitted to two 200-gallon saddle tanks. A 10 h.p. Wisconsin Motor and Pacific Pump were bought for Moana E.F.S. in exchange for their 1962 Magirus Pump, which was fitted, to the K.E.L. 5 Bedford. The 1963 J3 Bedford was then sold to Nanawarra E.F.S.
December 1973 was a busy time for members of the E.F.S. There were sixteen calls on one Sunday night followed by one fire each night for the next four nights. In 1974 Cadets were permitted to join the E.F.S.
In 1975 D.Blowes and S.Humphrey painted the Morphett Vale Fire Station green with paint supplied by the Council. The next few years saw more renovations and additions to the fire station. In 1976 the Morphett Vale Fire Station shed was extended by another ten feet. In 1979 a pit was dug in the shed for servicing the fire trucks and the shed was further extended in 1980.
A 240 volt Single Phase siren was purchased in 1977 from Aldinga Beach C.F.S. for $230.00 and installed on the tower at Hackham Fire Station. In 1982 the Hackham station was extended twice its size by DeLuxe Constructions. In 1979 the Reynella Station was extended by 10 feet. In 1983 the ceiling of the Morphett Vale Fire Station was lined with material supplied, donated and fitted by members. Mike Thorpe then painted the interior of the station.
Vehicles were updated too. In 1976 a K.C.C. Bedford truck replaced the 1964 J5 Bedford truck which was then sold to Clarendon E.F.S. In 1979 the 1967 K.G.L. 7 ton Bedford truck was sold to Auburn C.F.S. and replaced by an International A.C.C.O. 510A four wheel drive fitted with a G.A.M. Pump. In 1980 a 1942 Chev Blitz four wheel drive fire truck was purchased from the C.S.I.R.O. at O’Halloran Hill and fitted with a 10 h.p. Wisconsin Motor and Pump to a 580 gallon tank.
This truck was sold in 1985 and replaced with a 1985 Jeep J20 5.95 L V8 four wheel drive automatic truck. This was then fitted with a Darley High Pressure Pump and water tank with a 900-litre capacity. The total cost was $38,000.
In 1977 the Morphett Vale, Reynella, Hackham E.F.S. (Inc) was changed to the Morphett Vale, Reynella, Hackham C.F.S. (Inc.) In 1980 the name was changed again to the Morphett Vale Country Fire Service. February 16th 1983 will be remembered for the devastating ‘Ash Wednesday’ fires that broke out across the state. The Morphett Vale brigade was heavily committed with appliances and personnel at the large blaze which started near McLaren Flat and destroyed many houses and stock. The Prospect Hill and Meadows areas were where the Morphett Vale CFS appliances spent most of the day battling fires under extremely severe conditions. Smaller grass fires were also attended to within the Morphett Vale CFS area on the day and were quickly extinguished.
In May 1989 a type 2.4 tanker (Hino FT) 163 was delivered. This vehicle is powered by a 6.014 litre (367 cubic inch) Hino diesel engine that has 6 vertical in line cylinders. The diesel engine develops a maximum net torque of 402 Nm at 1800 r.p.m. This appliance was fitted with a Gaam Pump model M.K. 300, the pump engine make Hatz model 2440c, the propulsion of the pump engine is diesel. The cost of this appliance was $92,000.
In January 1990 on a day of total fire ban Morphett Vale 4.3 was attending a small grass fire in the Onkaparinga gorge. After finishing at the grass fire Morphett 4.3 was responded to an false alarm at the Wilfred Taylor reserve. Whilst coming down States road the appliance failed to negotiate a corner and hit a tree. The crew on board the appliance suffered many injuries and some of the members were trapped underneath the vehicle for a short period.
Extract from the ‘Advertiser’ Friday, March 1st 1991
STAR force officers rescued a volunteer firefighter today after he was hit by a boulder at the bottom of a cliff at the Onkaparinga gorge. The 29-year man from the Hackham Country Fire Service Unit was fighting a small scrub fire when a large boulder rolled down the 200m cliff and struck his legs.
The fireman could not stand and was winched to safety by STAR force officers. The extent of his injuries was not know but were reported by police to be minor. The fire which started about 4pm, burnt about 5ha of scrub before being brought under control about 90 minutes later.
August 1992 saw the completion of a new Fire Station at Doctor’s Road, Hackham and the closure of the Reynella, Morphett Vale and Hackham stations. The official opening for the new Morphett Vale Station was on the 18th October 1992.
In 1994 the back of the Toyota appliance was removed and placed on to a trailer chassis and the Toyota was then sold. A Ford Econovan was then purchased for the purpose of transporting crews and ancillary equipment. It permanently carried a generator and lighting equipment, it was also used if catering needed to be transported to an incident.
As part of group re-organisation in 1998 the Noarlunga and Happy Valley CFS groups merged to form the Mawson group. Morphett Vale station which was the Noarlunga group base was to continue as the group base for the new group however its radio callsign was changed from ‘Morphett Base’ to ‘Mawson Base’ this was something many radio operators took some time to adjust to.
Morphett Vale 1.4 and Car 1 were sold in 1998 and replaced with a Holden Rodeo single cab utility four wheel drive. A Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) pump and 400 litre water tank were mounted on the tray.
September 2000 saw the brigade receive a new Isuzu 24 Pumper appliance from the government. Morphett Vale 24P was a dual cab Isuzu four wheel drive with a pump capable of delivering 500 gallons of water per minute. This appliance replaced the Hino four wheel drive vehicle we received in May 1989, it was to be redistributed to the Rapid Bay CFS to replace one of their aging appliances.
The Isuzu 24P vehicle was replaced on the 12th of July 2010 with a 1990 RS237 Dennis Heavy Pumper. This vehicle first spent time in the Nottinghamshire Fire Brigade in the U.K. it was then sold to the New Zealand Fire Service where it spent many years before the CFS purchased it. The intention was to purchase one of the NZ Fire Service Heavy Pumpers and refurbish it for further operational use in Australia. The appliance entered service with the Mount Barker CFS Brigade in 2006, before being transferred to the Seaford CFS Brigade in 2007. In 2010 the appliance entered service with the Morphett Vale Brigade.
Although it was a capable appliance with a large pump, a huge amount of locker space and in-cab Breathing Apparatus, this particular vehicle had suffered a number of failures, which included the windscreen falling out whilst being driven at high speed. Ultimately the cost to keep this vehicle running exceeded its worth, and after 18 months with the Morphett Vale Brigade the appliance was taken out of service and transferred to the Country Fire Service Museum in Naracoorte.
A new medium urban pumper built on an Iveco Eurocargo cab/chassis was delivered to the brigade on the 20th of December 2011. The vehicle was manufactured by Fraser Fire and Rescue in New Zealand and is based on the New Zealand Fire Service(NZFS) type one pumper design.
This vehicle carries a full urban stowage kit and has the following features;
- Seating capacity for six fire-fighters
- Rear mount Darley 750 G/pm pump
- 2000 litre water tank
- 60 litre class A foam tank with on-board refill pump
- Direct injection foam system
- 5.17 m3 usable locker volume
- 60 metre high pressure hose reel
- Four BA sets
The brigade has put the appliance to the test at a number of incidents, and is extremely happy with its performance. The pump is very easy to operate, the stowage space is more than adequate for an urban brigade and the vehicle is extremely comfortable to drive.
A new Isuzu 4wd rural appliance (Morphett Vale 34) was delivered to the brigade in August 2012. This vehicle replaced our faithful single cab 4wd appliance that had been with us for 18 years.
In 2015 the need for an appliance that could carry an additional two Breathing Apparatus sets was identified, and a deal was struck to swap the 34 with a 34P appliance from the Tarlee brigade. The changeover occurred on the 14th of November 2015.
The Morphett Vale CFS fleet remains the same to this day.
Extract from the ‘Advertiser’ 1985
Scott Cotton, aged 3 years, lends a helping hand in winding up hose, with junior Fireman Robyn Ormsby during the Region 1 competitions held at McLaren Flat oval on Sunday, July 7, 1985. Scott’s dad Fire Party Leader Tony Cotton of the Hackham CFS Fire Station is a member of the Morphett Vale / Reynella / Hackham CFS Brigade. Robyn Ormsby has risen from the ranks of cadet with the Morphett Vale / Reynella / Hackham CFS Brigade to junior Fireman.
This year Robyn won the award for Junior Fireman of the year. Regular attendance at training and fire calls together with skills learned has earned her this honour. Robyn has been a member of the brigade’s competition team for a number of years and as a member of this year’s Ladies C. Grade Dry Hose Drill team gained first place both at the McLaren Flat, and Mallala (Visitors) Fire Fighting Drill Competitions. The team she trains will now represent the region in the state Finals on September 22, 1985 at Blackwood Hill Oval.Morphett Vale / Reynella/ Hackham CFS Brigade members were all smiles when they learned there Morphett Vale 1 Cadets and Ladies team took first place in the C. Grade Dry Hose Drill visitors event.
Pictured from left Messrs. Allan Ormsby, Tony Prowse and Glen Cronin. It was also a special occasion for Tony too, for he was to celebrate his 18th birthday the following day.
Morphett Vale CFS Founding Members
Mr Wilfred Taylor – Local farmer and councillor
Mr Bob Duval – Stud Sheep Farmer
Mr Jack Parkin – Local farmer
Mr W. M. Hunt – Local farmer
Mr Jack Moore – Publican
Mr Harry Cox – Wood carter and fuel agent
Mr Kelvin Booth – Farmer and Vigneron
Mr C. B. Giffen – Police Officer
Mr A. Holly – Local farmer and Councillor
Mr John Stanford – Wine maker
Mr Harry Liston – Local farmer and Almond grower
Morphett Vale, Reynella, Hackham CFS Secretaries / Administration Coordinator
1957 – 1962 Jack Parkin
1962 – 1969 Brian Percy
1969 – 1972 Brian Beauchamp
1972 – 1974 Trevor Modistach
1974 – 1977 Rinus Spaan
1977 – 1979 Gordon St.John
1979 – 1981 John Seddon
1981 – 1982 Matt Selfridge
1982 – 1984 Warren Oliver
1984 – 1995 Trevor Finney
1995 – 1997 Brett Merritt
1997 – 1998 Rachael Harris
1998 – 1999 Louanne Butler
1999 – 2001 Kym Turbill
2001 – 2003 Rachael Harris
2003 – 2004 Emma Starfield
2004 – 2005 Todd Harris
2005 – 2006 Leanne Smith
2006 – 2008 Kevin Churchward
2008 – 2010 Teresa Price
2010 – Current Jessica Vincent
1957 – 1962 Maurice Hunt
1962 – 1969 Brian Percy
1969 – 1972 Brian Beauchamp
1972 – 1978 Alan Lawrence
1978 – 1979 Dennis Wright
1979 – 1983 Kingsley Crowe
1983 – 1985 Rodney Wood
1985 – 1987 Peter Venning
1987 – 1992 Rodney Wood
1992 – 2000 William Fell
2000 – 2001 Roland Dickeson
2001 – 2003 Brady Starfield
2003 – 2009 Jenny Pilkington
2009 – 2010 N Roden / A Shearer
2010 – 2011 A Shearer / N Darlington
2011 – 2015 N Darlington
2015 – 2016 R Perry
2016 – 2017 R Perry / C Maddern
2017 – Current K Dwyer
1993 David Blowes
1993 – 1997 Peter Venning
1997 – 1998 Trevor Finney
1998 – 2001 Phillip McDonough
2001 – 2003 Todd Harris
2003 – 2010 Max Atkinson
2010 – Current Matthew Bonser
Life Members of Morphett Vale Country Fire Service
(20 years service with Morphett Vale, Reynella, Hackham EFS / CFS)
|Harry Cox||George Cox|
|Danny Sparrow||Alan Lawrence|
|Ron Bowden||Ian Taverner|
|John Seddon||Shirley Lawrence|
|Rod Wood||Pat Taverner|
|Bert Fell||David Blowes|
|Peter Venning||Dean Bowden|
|John Harris||Phil Parkman|
|Kym Moyle||William Fell|
|Glen Cronin||Trevor Finney|
|Brett Merritt||Max Atkinson|
|Kevin Churchward||Pamela Atkinson|
|Brenda Finney||Matthew Bonser|
|Brian Holecek||Michael Flynn|
|Russell Bloomer||Jenny Pilkington|