Fretle Stuff > organisations > Fire Brigade. See also fire stations.

Volunteer Fire Brigade

The following note comes from Susan Birch's family history, A Birch Tree. The 'Richard' named in it is her ancestor Richard Birch.


On 2nd October 1885, a public meeting was convened by the Fremantle Council to officially establish the Fremantle Volunteer Fire Brigade. Richard was enrolled as one of the original members and served as Secretary for a few years. Could his involvement in the Volunteer Fire Brigade have been a result of his experiences with the fire in his brother Edmund's pharmacy in 1874?

The Fremantle Volunteer Fire Brigade - Richard is in the back row, fourth from the left Photo courtesy of the Fremantle City Library Local History Collection #1762.
[Note the presence of MPs William Marmion on the left and Daniel Congdon on the right. Marmion was both MLC and (later) MLA and was a minister in John Forrest's cabinet in the first representative government. Congdon was mayor of both Fremantle and North Fremantle, as well as MLC.]

The Fremantle Volunteer Fire Brigade received a fire engine in June 1884, when one was shipped from London. Then, in 1887, a Fire Station was built in Croke Street. The Brigade continued until 1892 when it was disbanded and a new body formed. It remained a volunteer organisation until 1905, when it was reorganised and placed under the Metropolitan Board.

The No. 1 Fremantle Fire Brigade Station, on the SE corner of Mouat and Croke Streets, 1894. The building was erected in 1887. Fremantle Library ref. no. 1983P.

The No. 2 Station. Fremantle Library ref. no. 1983Q. The Library's note does not conjecture as to the location of this shed. It merely states that the photograph is 'part of a presentation of 18 mounted photos made to Fremantle Municipal Council by the Fremantle Fire Brigade in 1894'.

References and Links

Birch, Susan 2015, A Birch Tree: The Life and Times of Richard and Eliza Birch, privately published: 30-34; partly republished above by gracious permission of the author (without footnotes and images).

Garry Gillard | New: 18 November, 2021 | Now: 26 June, 2022