Brigade History

Alpine/Aylmerton Rural Fire Brigade was first formed in 1953, with 9 members. Membership was set at two shillings (approximately 20 cents). Offers of equipment included:

2 knapsacks
400 gallon tank (for use on a private vehicle)

The brigade had its first equipment issue in 1954:

4 knapsack sprays
1 axe
4 water bags
1 low level pump (hand operated)

The summer of 1953 - 1954 was the brigade's first official season. A fire burnt through Alpine from the west and properties were saved with the help of two "Water Board" tankers. No homes were lost.

To activate the brigade's response, Alan Kerslake (current Senior Deputy) was a runner on a push bike. After alerting members, he would then attend the fire on his push bike, complete with knapsack. Mark Cupitt (current Captain) was the last push bike messenger, although at times was known to use his motor bike.

During the 1955 - 1956 season the following equipment was allocated by the Mittagong Shire Council:

1 flame thrower
4 rakes
3 axes
4 - 44 x gallon drums
1 first aid kit
4 hoses for knapsacks.

An ex-army Blitz was purchased in the Spring of 1964, with the brigade and Mittagong Council each contributing £100. The Blitz was housed at Len Kerslake's property.

In 1980 a request was made for a new truck, and in 1981 a new Bedford truck was presented to the brigade and housed at Gordon McFarlane's shed. In 1989 two "pagers" were issued to the brigade, one donated by Fire Control and the other purchased at a cost of $172. One pager was issued to Kevin Cupitt and the other went to Alan Kerslake.

After much lobbying by Kevin Cupitt, the first fire shed was built in 1990, and an Isuzu Cat2 tanker was issued to the brigade. In 1999 the first breathing apparatus equipment was given to the brigade. A new Cat2 tanker was presented in 2001 to replace the old one. This tanker is still in use.

A major development of the fire shed was initiated by Mark Cupitt in 2002, with the shed being extended to two bays. The brigade provided $15,000 towards this work with the balance provided by Fire Control, brigade members, local residents, local business and contractors. A second hand Cat10 tanker was issued to the brigade as a second response vehicle. Since 2002, a meeting/training room has been built, as well as a specialised room for refilling "BA" cylinders. The brigade refills BA cylinders for the northern end of the district.

In 2009 the brigade vehicles were upgraded to a dual cab Cat 7 and a Cat 11 urban pumper.

Brigade Captains:

1953 - 1974 - Len Kerslake

1974 - 1991 - Gordon McFarlane

1991 - 2003 - Alan Kerslake

2003 -  Mark Cupitt