The Bathurst Island Volunteer Fire Brigade formed in 1974, making it the sixth volunteer fire brigade within the NTFRS (previously the NT Fire Brigade).
The catalyst for the establishment of a fire brigade at Bathurst Island probably stemmed from a fire at the Bathurst Island Mission in the early hours of 2 August 1973, which claimed the lives of five of the six children from one family. The fire apparently started when a candle, being used as night-light, ignited bedding. Although the Mission housed a community of over a thousand people, there was no firefighters, or firefighting equipment other than hand fire extinguishers. Following this tragic event, the NT Fire Brigade made equipment available to the Mission on loan and provided training in its use.
Near the end of 1986, a fundraising activity was organised by three Howard Springs 'characters' to earn an income. After the expenses were taken out, the question was: "What shall we do with the money left over?", it was decided then by Dick Griffith that the remaining funds should go towards the need for a fire brigade in Howard Springs.
This being a good thing, Georg Leitens, Dave Suthers and others took up the idea, and thus wheels were set into motion. What a beginning for a volunteer fire brigade!
The first public meeting was held on Sunday, 2 November. This meeting was attended by Col Dash and Bill Longbottom of the (then) NT Fire Service and about 20 interested residents. The purpose of the meeting was to elect a steering committee to form a volunteer fire brigade and to approach the Government to incorporate this new brigade into the NT Fire Service.
A letter dated 14/01/86 was received from Col Dash, Superintendent of the Fire Services Rural Division, stating that the Chief Minister had approved the proposal to establish a volunteer fire brigade in the Howard Springs district. It is of some interest to note that the Howard Springs area was the only immediate rural area without a volunteer fire brigade. Volunteer brigades had existed for some years at McMinns, Humpty Doo, Virginia and Bees Creek.
A general meeting on the 25/02/87, organised by the steering committee, was held at the Howard Springs Primary School to elect a committee to form the brigade. The following were elected: K Ozolins (Captain), W Doyle (Vice Captain), S Arnison (Secretary/Treasurer), D Allcorn, D Griffith and J Wagner. The establishment of the brigade was approved by the Chief Minister Mr Stephen Hatton 12/11/86.
Article from the Howard Springs Volunteer Fire Brigade "Playing With Fire" newsletter dated April 1988.
On 5 May 1983, Divisional Officer Colin Dash of the NT Fire Service chaired the first Annual General Meeting of the Humpty Doo Volunteer Fire Brigade. The meeting was attended mainly by Lions Club members, with a few additional members of the public present. The Constitution of the volunteer fire brigade was accepted at this meeting. This is the tenth volunteer fire brigade.
The Koolpinyah Volunteer Bushfire Brigade was initially established in July 1988, in the Darwin rural area as a volunteer bushfire brigade of the NT Bushfires Council.
The Koolpinyah Volunteer Bushfire Brigade worked interactively with the brigades of the NT Fire Service in the Humpty Doo and Koolpinyah response areas for a six-year term until 1994. Due to the continued urbanisation of the area and a resultant decrease in the requirement for extensive area land management strategies, the Bushfires Council approached the NT Fire Service to take over the responsibility for fire control in the area.
A meeting of interested local residents was held at the Humpty Doo and Rural Golf Club, at which the NT Fire Service informed attendees exactly what was proposed for the area. The proposal was discussed, and a motion to accept it and form a new volunteer fire brigade was voted and carried.
On 16 March 1994, the establishment of both the Yirrkala and Koolpinyah Volunteer Fire Brigades were authorised by gazette notice. On 13 April 1994 at 8.00pm, a second meeting to which all residents of the Koolpinyah area were invited was held again at the Humpty Doo and Rural Golf Club. The meeting, chaired by Superintendent Tony Meakin of the NT Fire Service, resulted in the registration of seventeen inaugural members of the Koolpinyah Volunteer Fire Brigade, and a Captain and Brigade Committee were elected.
The Mataranka Fire Brigade was gazetted in 1973 making it the fourth volunteer fire brigade. The fire district was defined as a radius of two kilometres from the local post office, however, three months later it was redefined as being a two-kilometre radius from the local police station. The brigade was issued with a trailer pump incorporating Coventry Climax pump.
The first volunteer fire brigade to be established outside the metropolitan areas was at Pine Creek, which was gazetted on 3 June 1970 when Frederick Chaney, the Administrator of the Northern Territory at that time, authorised the formation of a fire brigade. To be known as the Pine Creek Volunteer Fire Brigade, it was to operate within the Pine Creek Fire District, defined as a radius of two miles from the Pine Creek Police Station. The NT Fire Brigade issued the Pine Creek brigade with a trailer pump incorporating a Volkswagen-powered Climax pump, and also a separate hose trailer.
The Timber Creek Fire and Emergency Response Group (FERG) is an all volunteer group trained in bushfire fighting and road accident rescue. The station houses a small pumping appliance which carries road accident rescue equipment. The volunteers are also trained in search and rescue procedures and flood boat operations.
An emergency response group was previously operating from Ti Tree for a number of years, but the Fire and Emergency Response Group (FERG) Station wasn't officially established until 2019.
The Ti Tree FERG Station operates in the Ti Tree Police District covering 47,000 square kilometres.
The Stuart Highway divides this area, and due to a large amount of tourist traffic, the FERG Unit deals with an average of one motor vehicle accident per month. These range from relatively injury free rollovers to fatal accidents.
Virginia / Bees Creek
The Bees Creek Volunteer Fire Brigade was not referenced in Annual Reports until the 1982 Department of Transport and Works Annual Report, where it was noted that Batchelor, McMinns Lagoon and Bees Creek Volunteer Fire Brigades were either formed or re-formed during the 1981-1982 financial year. This is the ninth volunteer fire brigade.
In mid-1982 a trailer pump was made available to the brigade, but it was not until the mid-1980s that a grass fire unit was issued.