Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade officers (from left)
Station Officer Bill Metherell, Chief Fire Officer Bob
Robertson, Chief Fire Officer-designate Terry O'Connell and
Senior Firefighter Andre Freixo, stand beside a historic
fire appliance in the foyer of the Queenstown Memorial
Centre before the awards and 150th anniversary function
began on Saturday night. Photo by James Beech.
A century and a-half of service and sacrifice was
celebrated by the Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade with a
formal awards ceremony and annual dinner on Saturday night.
The tireless voluntary dedication of both the Queenstown and
Frankton firefighters who attended and were honoured even
extended to their special occasion, with their gear and
apparatus placed ready in the foyer of the Queenstown
Memorial Centre and four fire appliances parked outside, just
The Queenstown brigade, which predates the formation of the
New Zealand Fire Service by 112 years, was just as important
to the community today as it was when the town was a camp
made of canvas and timber, Chief Fire Officer Bob Robertson
told 400 guests in the auditorium.
Mr Robertson, the one man who has served in the Queenstown
brigade for more than one-third of its existence, said he
believed he had served alongside virtually every firefighter
present at the anniversary function and described the
brigades as ''one big family.''
Uniformed brigade members past and present from Queenstown
and Frankton, their partners, employers and supporters were
joined by senior representatives from the national Fire
Service, senior delegates from Queenstown police and St John
Queenstown, plus Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden and
her husband Peter Laurenson.
New Zealand Fire Service Commission deputy chairman David
McFarlane presented the long service and good conduct medals.
Mr McFarlane said the anniversary was significant to
Queenstown and New Zealand as ''150 years is a long time in
''Very few organisations have survived to provide 150 years
of enduring service.''
United Fire Brigades Association deputy chairman and
Rolleston Chief Fire Officer Nigel Lilley presented the
Speeches were made by Central Otago Sub Association president
David Christie, Institution of Fire Engineers international
president and South Australian Fire Service Chief Fire
Officer Grant Lupton, and Ms van Uden.
The event was the culmination of three months of festivities
for the anniversary, which included about 1000 school pupils
touring the station, a popular community open day last
Saturday and a private barbecue for firefighters and loved
A book by Queenstown author Jenny McLeod records past and
present firefighters and the major fires they fought during
the brigade's first 150 years. It was published to coincide
with the anniversary and contains research and photographs
sourced from the Otago Witness and Otago Daily
Long Service & Good Conduct medal: Karl Argyle, of
Frankton, Dion Halmshaw, of Queenstown, Mike Ide, of
Frankton, and Craig Mace, of Frankton.
Five-year medal recipients: Paul Halsted, of
Queenstown, Katherine Lamont, of Queenstown, Gary Marsh, of
Queenstown, Daune Schollitt, of Frankton, and Samantha Wills,
Three-year certificate: Diego Canepa, of Frankton,
Hayden Cosgrove, of Frankton, Damian Hill, of Frankton,
Joshua Keeble, of Queenstown, Chole MacMillan-Wise, of
Queenstown, Phil McGrory, of Frankton, Carla McLeod, of
Queenstown, and Preston Rogers-Brown, of Queenstown.
Two-year silver bar: Clare Mallard-Paul, of Queenstown
(7 years), Duncan Fisher, of Queenstown (9 years), Andrew
Bary, of Queenstown (11 years), Royden Cullimore, of
Queenstown (13 years), Bobby Lamont, of Queenstown (13
years), Doug McKay, of Queenstown (13 years), Dion Halmshaw,
of Queenstown (17 years) and Bill Metherell, of Queenstown
Two-year gold bar: Terry O'Connell, of Queenstown (31
years), Lyall McGregor, of Queenstown (37 years) and Bob
Robertson, of Queenstown (54 years).