Page 3643 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 22 October 2013

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In the 25-year history of the brigade we have had four captains—Gerard Morrison, Clyde Hunt, Richard Cannell and currently David Wassall. The brigade has a great reputation, particularly for being a family brigade. There are members who joined a decade ago who had young kids or teenage kids and those kids are now in the brigade. So it is very much a family brigade. We celebrate as often as we can together, so we have an annual Christmas party and things like that. But the strength of the brigade is out of its sense of family.

Over its 25 years the brigade has appointed five life members, they being Tony Morrison, who was the first president, Bob Moore, who became the second president, Dave Wassall, who is the current captain, Brian Cunynghame, who drives the tanker—Brian is always driving a tanker—and the current president, Dennis Kugler. Just to embarrass Brian, simply because he deserves it, there was a fire at the back of my house at Christmas 2009 when Simpsons Hill went up. Unfortunately, the new tanker had some malfunctions because the electricals were not working properly and it had to come off the hill, so they parked it on our front yard. My three-year-old looked at it and said, “Dad, why did Brian break the tanker?” I just have to put that story on the record to embarrass Brian.

But there are lots of stories in the history. A lot of them are fun stories of people getting bogged or people getting lost. There is a lot of serious story telling as well about the efforts of the brigade. It has been involved in numerous fires over its time. The brigade was certainly there for 2001 and 2003 in Canberra. We have been to numerous trips interstate, particularly New South Wales and Victoria. I think it is a very, very good history of the brigade.

Minister Corbell attended the dinner, which was much appreciated by the brigade, and Andrew Stark, the Chief Officer of the ACT Rural Fire Service came as well. We had the launch of the book, and the two Garys—Gary Mayo and Gary Hooker—must get a lot of credit. The majority of the photos in the book are from a gentleman called Gary Hooker, who is never far from his camera. I think he sleeps with the thing, and he records the activities of the brigade very, very well.

To the people who helped organise it—Gary Hooker, Gary Mayo, Dennis Kugler, Barbara Kugler, Mary Cunynghame, Anne and all the others—I would like to say thank you on behalf of the brigade and on behalf of your community for putting on the evening. Given we can still see some of the haze in the sky, I ask that we remember all the volunteers across Australia who are on a fire front today and who may end up on a fire front tomorrow, but particularly if we keep in mind the Guises Creek rural fire brigade, because they have been doing it for a long time now.

Malayalees community

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.33): It is an honour and a pleasure, in being a member of this Assembly, to be invited to share in wonderful community celebrations. I thank the Canberra Malayalees community for warmly welcoming me to their recent Onam celebrations, which fall during the harvest festival of Kerala, a southern state of India.

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