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Elpho Info

December 2015 Volume 68

Community Newsletter for the Elphinstone, Faraday, Sutton Grange and Metcalfe districts

Elphinstone Fire Brigade Captain Andy


Chapman honoured with CFA Life
Membership

Summer 2015: Looking to be


dry, hot and windy so get your
fire plans in order

NEXT EDITION

Articles and advertising for the


March Elpho Info are due by
Friday 11th March 2016.
Email your articles, photos, etc
to amitybradford@gmail.com
Gill at the shop is the contact for
billing queries.
Elpho Info is a member of
the Community Newspapers
Association of Victoria.

The Elpho Info can be read online:


http://elphoinfo.blogspot.com.au/

Fiona Gatt (editor)

On Sunday 29th November 2015, at


the conclusion of a very well attended
Fire Ready meeting at the Elphinstone
Fire Brigade Station, Captain Andy
Chapman was awarded Lifetime
Membership of the Country Fire
Authority. Elphinstone Fire Brigade
Secretary Tracey Franze delivered a
speech. It was evident to all present
that Tracey was honoured to deliver
the speech and it was so well written
and presented that it was an honour
to witness. With Traceys permission
the speech is being published in this
edition of the Elpho Info - see pages 11
and 12.
Congratulations to Andy and Kath
for being recognised for a lifetime
of dedication to the CFA. And also to
Tracey on a wonderful speech.

Elphinstone Energy Breakthrough Success


Elphinstone Primary School continues
to punch well above its weight as
they tackled the gruelling RACV
Energy Breakthrough event held in
Maryborough on November 19-21.
The team finished 5th in the 14 hour
time trial in the Human Powered
Vehicle A1 Class which means that
they were competing with schools
of up to 200 students - an amazing
achievement.
....continued on next page.

Energy Breakthrough, continued from page 1


It has been the fourth year Elphinstone
has entered the competition and
they have had the assistance and
sponsorship of several prominent
Castlemaine
businesses.
There
is a strong environmental theme
associated with the challenge and
it is one of Australias premier
Science and Technology events. The
program encourages students to
examine and use the latest technology
while considering its impact on the
environment and the way people

live locally and globally. Energy


Breakthrough is an integral part
of our curriculum and students
have been exploring topics such as
renewable energy and sustainability
throughout the year explains school
Principal Brendan Stewart. The
students have to demonstrate their
understandings in front of a judging
panel for 30 minutes and also answer
questions about energy efficiency and
technological aspects of their vehicle.
The race only comprises half of the

overall marks. It has been a wonderful


achievement and credit must go to
the students and their families who
have supported the program since its
introduction 4 years ago. The car came
back in one piece but looks rather
beaten up after several roll overs!
The students are keen to continue on
with their success next year as a new
crop of riders are ready to step up and
take on the challenge.

Elphinstone Students Shine in Maths

Wright Street Elphinstone


5473 3285
elphinstone.ps@edumail.vic.gov.au
www.elphinstone.vic.edu.au

so highly. Later on I would like to be


an architect or engineer and I know
that maths is very important in these
jobs said Angus.
Principal and teacher, Brendan
Advanced Maths students Tom Spencer, Tara Pridham and Campbell
Stewart, has been taking the class
McLennan with Angus.
all year and the benefits are enjoyed
across the whole school. Students
What a busy month for our staff
top 0.3% in his year level across the are very keen for classes to start
and Elphinstone Primary School is
nation. Three other students, Tara
and we have tackled some very
celebrating the success of one of
Pridham, Jenn Girvan and Abigail
complex and difficult concepts this
its students Angus Ware as he was
Ware, received Distinctions in the
year. The students have not only
awarded a special Prize Certificate
competition. Angus, who is in grade sat the competition exam but the
from the Australian Mathematics
5, has been involved in advanced
advanced group completed a 4 week
Trust (AMT). Angus recently
mathematics classes all year with
AMT Challenge and the longer 10
travelled down to Monash University several other students which has
week Enrichment Program. Students
to receive his recognition at the
accelerated their learning and ignited are talking mathematics in general
Australian Mathematics Trust Awards a passion for the subject. I really
conversation and are thoroughly
Presentation Evening. Angus, along
enjoy working with the group and
engaged in the program. The
with his classmates sat the Australian find the topics fun and challenging. overall results across the school are
Mathematics Competition earlier
I feel proud and its great that a
exemplary and it is a credit to all the
this year and he was ranked in the
small school like ours has ranked
teachers involved.

Elpho Info

December 2015

A message from our Councillor


At the Special Meeting of Council on
November 10th I was honoured to be
re-elected as Mayor for the next year,
leading the current Council to the end
of its term of government in October
2016. In my acceptance speech I spoke
about some of the challenges facing
Council in the year ahead:
Early in 2016 council will begin
work on its next budget, with the
certainty of a cap being set on the
allowed rate rise. While this is good
news for hard-pressed ratepayers, who
face ongoing significant rises in utility
bills, vehicle registration, insurances
and the prospect of an increase
in other taxes such as the GST, for
council it will mean difficult choices.
Headline projects, capital works,
are a minor part of Council budget.
In round figures, the 2015/2016
budget is a $40 million budget, of
which $10 million is capital works.
The remaining $30 million funds our
operations. Council delivers services
to the community, a very broad range
of services, and when our increase
in income is held below the increase
in cost of delivering those services,
something has to give. Reviewing the
services that council delivers and how
they are delivered, has already begun,
as a trial project. Service reviews will
continue into next year and beyond.
Input from the community will be a
vital part of examining each service
that Mt Alexander Shire Council
delivers to its community, the level to
which the service is provided and how
we deliver it.
Most people, myself included
before I became a councillor, dont
pay much attention to the services
provided by Council, until something
goes wrong. We all know when our
local roads need fixing, when the
garbage contractor has failed to
empty our bin, or when the grass at
the recreation reserve needs mowing.
What else does Council do? A trip to an
overseas destination can sometimes
show us what we take for granted at
home. Whos had their enjoyment
of a beautiful, exotic location spoilt
by smelly drains or a dirty public

Elpho Info

toilet, not to mention coming down


with gastro as a result of sampling
the local cuisine? Litter piled up in
otherwise charming streets, verminridden informal rubbish dumps,
streams and rivers tainted with
effluent, large hotel developments in
fragile environmental zones. Mount
Alexander Shire Councils departments
of waste management, infrastructure
department, environmental health
and town planning protect residents
against similar experiences at home.
We take them for granted, but wed
certainly notice if they werent there.
A couple of years ago while staying
in North London, I arranged to meet
a friend at a local library, in the
wealthy suburb of Primrose Hill. The
historic Hill is now a well-managed
park with carefully-designed walking
and cycling paths through it, but
the library was a shock. Instead of
a welcoming group of library staff
and a bustling atmosphere, a sign
on the door indicated that the place
was open for just a few hours a week,
courtesy of the volunteers who were
now the only people available to staff
it. Government cuts to council funding
has led to the closure of libraries across
England. Mount Alexander Shires
library service comes at a cost of close
to half a million dollars. Our Home
and Community Care services have a
similar price tag, ensuring that older
people and those with a disability

are given support to be able to live in


their own homes, maintaining their
independence and being connected to
their community.
Council provides many services
to its community, with the lions
share of funding coming from rates.
Delivering services means employing
people and employment costs rise
every year, as any employer knows.
Costs of materials, utilities, insurances
are also woven into service costs. All
these costs are set to rise annually
by more than CPI. At the same time
the State Government has flagged its
intention to limit rate rises to CPI. The
result will be Council will receive less
money each year, in real terms, to pay
for the delivery of its services. The
effect will be small in the first year
or two, but after that the growing
gap will mean compulsory service
cutbacks. Council wants to be on the
front foot. Rather than wait for the
inevitable, the administration has
already begun to review the services
that Council provides, looking for
potential efficiencies and savings. Its
up to the community to tune into what
Council does, what services it provides
and give thought to its priorities.
Be prepared to have your say in the
months and years to come.
You can contact me on
04660 04628 or email:
Coliban@mountalxander.vic.gov.au
Christine Henderson

DISCLAIMER
Articles and comments printed in this newsletter are the result of contributions from
local groups and relevant news articles pertinent to Elphinstone/Sutton Grange
and Metcalfe areas. Views may be reflective of a group or organisation, and
are printed as information to all readers. Neither Elphinstone/Sutton Grange
and Metcalfe Progress Assoc. nor the Editorial Team are liable for any mistakes,
omissions or misprints. It prints and makes no representation as to the truth or
accuracy of any description and accepts no liability for any loss suffered by any
person who relies on any statement contained herein. The Editorial Team may
at time find it necessary to alter text so as to accommodate space, but will in no
way alter the validity of a story. They will endeavour to make these changes
with the authors.

December 2015

Elphinstone Fire Brigade


SHIP FIRE
Sometimes being part of the CFA
can lead you to jobs which you would
never expect. Such was the case
when Elphinstone Fire Brigades 4th
Lieutenant, Phil Mune, was called on a
Tour of Duty recently to a ship fire in
Portland.
The ship was a Livestock carrier
but fortunately there was no livestock
on the ship at the time. The fire was
burning in two large silos of pelletised
feed of approx. 400 tons each.
Investigations are continuing but it is
believed that the fire may have been
caused by combustion from moisture
contained in the pellets.
Despite the pellets having just left
Australian shores, the ship was in an
overseas terminal in a quarantined
area and therefore wasnt classed as
a Victorian fire, as ships are an entity
to themselves based on their country
of origin.
Therefore quarantine
protocols applied and caused delays
with all operations which had to meet
the strict criteria.
The fire was letting off carbon
monoxide and therefore all firefighters
needed to be qualified in wearing
breathing apparatus and members
wore it for around 10 hours within
each 14 hour shift.
Joining firefighters from across the
State, there were five personnel from
District 2: one each from Eaglehawk,
Maldon, Elphinstone, Malmsbury
and Kyneton Brigades, who flew to
Portland in a light plane and went
straight to the job. Leaving Bendigo
on a Tuesday afternoon at 3.30 pm,
they went straight to work on arrival
and it was around 11am the following
morning before they got to rest.
Of the five personnel from District
2, by the last shift three out of the
five had been promoted to Sector
Commanders, including Phil himself
who was controlling the berth (wharf)
area, whilst the other two controlled
the upper level and lower levels on the
ship, managing a total of approx. 50

Elpho Info

This picture captured from the wharf area shows a CFA Sky Boom
and two vacuum trucks, with the lit up areas being the silos, during the
intense operation.
firefighters on each shift.
Phil was based at the fire for a
total of four nightshifts starting from
6pm each night and finishing around
10:30am the next day.
The level of safety precautions had
to be paramount as liquid nitrogen
was pumped into the silos to reduce
oxygen levels, thus reducing the risk
of explosion. During the entire time
all firefighters were mindful that they
were dealing with an extremely volatile
situation and the last two hours of the
attack saw everyone evacuated apart
from the bare essential personnel,
due to the risk increasing as the doors
to the silo were opened and oxygen
entered the area, to help clear the
atmosphere.
Two vacuum trucks and one vacuum
stationery unit were removing the
product from the silos to a quarantined
area. Therefore the removal of fuel
and oxygen were the methods used by
the CFA to quell the fire.
The very large ship was scheduled to
carry 18,000 head of cattle and most
fires of this type see ships explode at
sea.
A stop message was finally put on
the job at 4am Saturday and the ship
was then handed back to the ships
crew after the CFA carried out their

clean-up operation.
The fire was being monitored by
major governments around the world
who watched with interest as to
how the operation was proceeding,
particularly as this was the first of its
kind where the ship had not exploded
and sunk. Part of the job included
recording the actions CFA crews were
undertaking to hopefully assist in
future operations of this type to also
reach a successful conclusion.
The five local firefighters returned
to Bendigo on a chartered flight, and
Phil said they arrived back exhausted
but satisfied to be part of a unique
and successful mission. Well done
Phil you did the Elphinstone Brigade
proud!

LANCEFIELD FIRE
The season started very early for
Elphinstone Brigade when a strike
team was sent from our Brigade in
Tanker 2, plus four personnel in the
Elphinstone Forward Control Vehicle,
to the huge, out of control, Lancefield
fire. With Capt Andy at the helm as
Strike Team Leader for a number of
crews from different Brigades, and his
wife Kath taking up her usual position
of pencilling throughout the night.

December 2015

Elphinstone Fire Brigade continued


I was fortunate enough to join the
dynamic duo, along with a member
from Chewton Brigade. My job was
to learn the pencilling in case Kath is
unavailable or late arriving on scene at
a fire. Kath arranges for crews details
to be recorded at the beginning of the
shift, and notes any communications
on a running sheet including all radio
communications (with sometimes
several radios on the go at once). On
arrival at Lancefield around 5pm,
we were given a debriefing and
instructions as to where we would be
posted throughout the night ahead.
There was media galore for the nightly
news, several Police road blocks and I
felt for the large crowds of residents
who had gathered at those, trying
to beg Police to be let back to their
homes.
As we were waved through the
Roadblock into the danger zone, it was
a bit daunting for me to be travelling
with fire all around us without being
in a fire truck, but the ute performed
admirably under careful driving and
with full confidence in Andy and
Kaths experience, I soon felt more
relaxed. We were based at a particular
road which was under ember attack
and Andy gave consideration to the
risk being manageable to station
a crewed appliance at each house
along the road for asset protection,
as the fire was difficult to fight at
that point, the head of the fire being
in mountainous rocky outcrops. We
were fortunate that nearby grassland
was green which slowed some of the
ember attack, and Andy said on more
than one occasion if it was February,
we wouldnt be in here. A large family
with a number of children of all ages
had decided to stay and defend, so
Andy ordered crews to also protect the
building in which they were sheltered,
in case the wind increased in strength
or changed direction, which it was
predicted to later in the night. It was
then off on a reconnaissance mission
around the area in the FCV to assess
potential risks, and note homes which

Elpho Info

were protectable against those that


were too risky for crews to be at. This
was done whilst checking the fire
from various vantage points whilst
still managing the team and liaising
with the Sector Commander from the
Lancefield area. The whole time this
was going on, there was a glow to the
east of us where a fickle finger of fire
was rearing its head. This, Andy felt,
could pose the biggest risk and catch
crews unaware should conditions
change, so the night was spent not
only watching the main fire but also
the one over our shoulders. Many
crews and even some management
personnel, overwhelmed by the vision
of the main fire, had missed seeing the
one creeping up behind us.
Fortunately the conditions remained
steady, with no houses lost in our
patch, and we finished our shift
around 1am, heading back to the
main deployment area for a bus ride
home, arriving back in Elphinstone
around 2.30 am, with drop off points
at various fire stations along the way.
We were pleased to meet up with our
Elphinstone buddies, the changeover
crews who took over the vehicles we
were in for the remainder of the night
shift. Capt Andy and a couple of the
crew were up again at 5am to catch
the bus back to Lancefield, where they
spent a long day on the fireground
directing water bombing helicopters
for most of the day. The big CFA
machine, when it swings into action,

is truly a sight to behold and from


my perspective, quite an emotional
experience when you meet with crews
from all over the State who have come
to lend a hand. Thanks Andy and Kath
for the opportunity - I have big shoes
to fill in providing a relieving role for
Kath but would be honoured to have
the opportunity.

STOP PRESS
Driest year for many years!
With the extremely dry year of 2015,
the Brigade is on high alert for a busy
fire season ahead. The grass has
cured early this year, necessitating the
Fire Danger Period to commence in
the Mount Alexander Shire from the
9 November. Whilst the opportunity
has passed for this year to burn off
without a permit, all residents are still
encouraged to clean up as much as
possible on their properties and also
to be mindful of having a water supply
handy for simple tasks such as lawn
mowing, where a single spark in some
cases can cause a major fire.
Please take care of yourselves, your
neighbours and each other this Fire
Danger Period.
Tracey Franze
Secretary

Rainfall by Wes Watson

AVERAGE RAINFALL
Elphinstone 1988-2003
Castlemaine 1966-1994
Harcourt 1968-1994
ACTUAL RAINFALL RECEIVED
Elphinstone 2013

Sep
mm

Oct
mm

Nov
mm

70
64
75

70
64
77

48
44
52

36.5

12

39

Many thanks to local resident Wes Watson for keeping rainfall


records and diligently passing them on to be published in this
newsletter.

December 2015

Elphinstones
Car Boot Sale
The Elphinstone Facilities Committee
would like to thank all the stall
holders and people who came for a
look and bought a sausage at our Car
Boot sale. We hear that some stall
holders did very well and we hope
they will be back next year. Thanks
also to Gary and Heather Pollard for
their support and all the volunteers
who gave us their valuable time to
keep those snags coming! We made
a modest return of just over $200
and plan to do it again next year.

Judy with her stall

Managing the
Elphinstone
Hall
The
Elphinstone
Facilities
Committee have now had several
successful working bees in partnership
with ELMA, which consisted of a big
clean-up of leaf litter around the Hall
and Cricket club and a lot of pruning
and vegetation management in the
Recreation Reserve. This is hard,
physical work and we would like to
thank Sue, Wayne, Wendy, Mark and
Gerard for helping to care for our
reserve and Hall, particularly as the
fire season moves into its more intense
phase. We are also finding that there
are lots of interesting plants in our
reserve as well as in the Arboretum
and are working on ways to preserve
them as well as carry out necessary
slashing. We would particularly like
to acknowledge Sue McLennan for her
organisational skills and hard work in
making it happen.

Gerard, Wendy and Mark hard at work

Mike Reeves
President, Elphinstone Facilities
Committee

Maree, Sue and Wayne get a load ready


Elpho Info

December 2015

AJ CHAPMAN EARTHMOVING
ANDY & KATH CHAPMAN & GIRLS
Calder Hwy, Elphinstone, 3448
For all your Backhoe & Tip truck
requirements
Quarry and Road Supplies
Grader hire
Driveway & House Sites

Andy has 30 years local knowledge &


experience
For further information phone:
0408 507 770 or 5473 3294

Elphinstone Post Office


and General Store

5473 3200
Weekdays 7.30am-5.30pm
Saturday 8.00am-1.00pm
Sunday
8.00am-12noon
Public Hol8.00am-12noon
Gill and Dave

Elpho Info

December 2015

ELMA INFORMATION BULLETIN


ELMAS WEED ACTION PLAN
A significant part of ELMAs objectives is to control weeds in Elphinstone. Without continual
and consistent control, many of these weeds will regerminate meaning our previous efforts at
controlling these weeds are wasted.

Our Environmental Contactor, Marty Hyland, can offer solutions to weed management on
your property. Marty can be contacted on 0438 000 598.

Please read on page 10 for details on Montpellier Broom (commonly known as Cape Broom).

CAPE (MONTPELLIER) BROOM

THIS PLANT HAS BEEN DECLARED A WEED OF NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE

Brought to you by ELMA (Elphinstone Land Management Association Inc.)

Update from ELMA

Cape Broom in Elphinstone

A cwe
lose will
up ocontinue
f Cape Broom
Next year
our informed of weeds and the detrimental
roadside weed management program impact they have on our natural
through funding from Mount environment. We will continue to
Alexander Shire Council. ELMA has display bulletins on the noticeboard
invested $15,000 over the last 5 to educate the community on weeds
years on roadside weed management of national significance and other
in Elphinstone. There is a map on issues affecting our community, such
the notice board highlighting the as pest control. The current bulletin
areas that have been treated and it identifies Cape Broom, which is
is our aim to keep these areas weed prolific along Diggers Way. Please see
free, which can take many years. the information above and continued
We will notify residents through the on page 10.
Elpho Info and on local noticeboards ELMA and the Facilities Committee
when our environmental contractor, ran another successful working bee
Marty Hyland, commences work on on 14th November at the Rec Reserve.
weed management next year. Marty Thank you to everyone who gave up
can also assist with weeds on your a few hours of their weekend to help
own property and ELMA volunteers with tasks such as raking, trimming,
undertake weed control throughout chainsawing, weeding, mowing etc. It
the year.
makes a huge difference to the overall
We would like to keep residents appearance and gives anyone visiting

Elpho Info

the reserve the impression that we


actually care for our community
facilities.
Following our AGM held on 12th
November, our office bearers will
remain the same with Wayne
Tuckerman re-elected as President,
Gerard Kelly re-elected as Treasurer
and Sue McLennan re-elected as
Secretary. Thanks to our general
members for your continued support
over the years and to our new
members who signed up this year
following the winter solstice event in
June. The cost to become a member
is $20 per year (per household). This
investment allows ELMA to purchase
native plants to further enhance the

December 2015

ELMA continued
beautification of the town, to purchase
poison necessary for weed control and
provide information and assistance
to members on their properties.
Membership forms are available at the
post office.
There are many workshops and
information sessions held throughout
the year run by the Shire, Connecting
Country and other environmental
organisations.
By becoming a

member of ELMA you will be notified


of these events, many of which
are free and provide relevant and
useful information on topics such as
rabbit control to learning about local
remnant grasslands and even written
reports on the Comparison of farmer
organisations in China and Australia.
We are looking forward to working
in consultation with the Elphinstone
Progress Association in its endeavours

to enhance the town centre and will


keep the community informed of our
progress.
Our meetings are held quarterly at
the pub and advertised locally so feel
free to drop in any time.
Wishing you all a happy and safe
festive season.

The EFC is a Section 86 committee


of the Mount Alexander Shire Council
and looks after the Recreation Reserve,
Sawpit Gully and the Elphinstone Hall.
It is run by volunteers from the local
community.
The Committee would like to
welcome Erin Downie as our newest
member. Erin has already made some
great contributions with creating our
newly-minted Facebook page and help
with our fundraising and working
bees. Our committee is now made up
of the following people:
Mike Reeves, chairperson
Elaine Geraughty, secretary
Maree Priestley, treasurer
Gill Maskell, Cassi Gunter and Erin
Downie, community representatives.
I think it is also appropriate to
recognise the contribution of partners
and friends, so I would also like to
thank Dave, Sylvia, Jack, Noel, Di,
Michael and Siggy, as well as members
of the Elphinstone Land Management
Association see story on working
bees at the Hall.

found to be missing about the time


of the break-in on Queens Birthday
weekend this year. We would like
to thank our Councillor Christine
Henderson for facilitating this, which
turned out to be more complicated
than just filling out a form! We have
now taken steps to make it much more
difficult to remove this item which
makes it slightly less convenient for
people to hire. However it is still
available, at very reasonable rates and
of course it is very convenient if you
are having a function to keep those
pastries and pies warm!
Car boot sale declared a success

Our Car Boot sale fundraiser on


the 12th September was very well
supported by the community see
photos and story elsewhere.

Sue McLennan
Secretary

News from the Elphinstone Facilities


Committee

Working bees with ELMA


We have now had two very productive
working bees with the support
of ELMA see story and pictures
elsewhere.
Mike Reeves, President

The story of the little Pie Warmer


that ran away
After much correspondence with the
Council we have now been able to
replace the pie warmer, which was

Elpho Info

Our campaign for better lighting


around the Hall
Since the break-in we have been looking
at getting some security lighting for
around the outside of the Hall. This
has proved quite challenging as expert
advice is a little hard to come by even if
you are a committee of Council. We are
currently in negotiations with Council
about an appropriate cost for the job
and hopefully we will get a good result
for the community of Elphinstone in
due course.

Jack hard at work (left)

December 2015

FACTS ABOUT CAPE BROOM


Alternative Name(s): Montpellier Broom, Canary Broom
Scientific Name: Genista monspessulana

Family: Fabaceae
Form: Shrub

Origin: Native to the Mediterranean region, Portugal and the Azores.


Flowers/Seedhead: Flowers: Surrounded by hairy calyx. Flowers late winter & spring,
sometimes in late summer & autumn.

Description: Shrub to 3 m high. Stems green and covered with short soft hairs, becoming
hairless with age. Leaves shortly stalked, consisting of 3 leaflets with rounded ends (often
with a short point), upper surface virtually hairless, lower surface varying from scattered to
densely appressed hairy with hairs often more common along the midrib. Seeds dark brown
to black, usually 58 seeds per pod.
Distinguishing features: Distinguished by ridged (but not 5 sided) green stems; flowers pea-
like, yellow, 0.81.3 cm long; stamens 10 in a single tube; mature pods densely hairy, 1.52.5
cm long, 35 mm wide.
Dispersal: Most spread is by movement of seed in mud attached to vehicles, animals and
footwear.
Confused With: Broom, Cytisus scoparius, but that species has larger flowers, 1.52.5 cm long,
and pods only hairv along margins OR other Genista species, see taxonomic texts for detailed
distinguishing features.

Cape Broom wreaking havoc along Diggers Way (adjacent railway line)

Elpho Info

10

December 2015

Andy Chapman Life Membership Talk


Sometimes, unexpectedly, you meet
someone who has a huge impact on
your life. A man among men, a true
leader. In September 2006, I met
Andy Chapman.
On what started as one of the worst
days in my life, burying my beloved
horse after a 26 year partnership,
had an unexpected positive twist
when meeting the local earthmoving
contractor who came to bury him a
humble, caring, kind human being.
On discovering Andy was also the
local Fire Captain, I happened to
mention that maybe I could do some
typing for the Brigade, if required.
Obviously Andy held onto that
thought and approached me some
time later to consider joining the
Brigade. Yes, I would be happy to do
some admin work but what about
fire fighting? No, I am scared of fire,
I said, an Ash Wednesday flashback
clear in my mind. Well Trace, you may
well face fire here one day would
you rather be trained or untrained?
A very good argument, and feeling
a sense of moral responsibility, I
decided if theyd have me then I
was in. Little did I know then how
personally rewarding it would be, to
be part of this close knit team.
Because to join the Elphinstone
Fire Brigade was to realise what
community really means. To discover
Andy and his wife Kath Chapmans
commitment and dedication to
fires, and other incidents, no matter
how extensive the duration, and at
any time of the day or night, was a
revelation in how selfless a family
can be with regard to offering its time
and expertise. Following their close
shave at Redesdale on Black Saturday,
I started to realise that here are two
people who lay their lives on the line
not only for their own community,
but also to come to the aid of
neighbouring communities.
I learned more about Andy and
his siblings, and their lifetime
family involvement with the CFA,

Elpho Info

Operations Manager - Regional Commander, Loddon Malleee Region,


Mark Gilmore, presents Elphinstone Fire Brigade Captain Andy Chapman
with CFA Life Membership, with Elphinstone Fire Brigade Secretary.
through their parents the late Jack
and Kit Chapman, legends during
their time at the Castlemaine Fire
Station. Kit earned a distinguished
British Empire Medal for her efforts
assisting with communications over
three days during the Faraday School
kidnappings in 1972, when the Police
communications system failed and
she stepped in. To quote Kit from a
Bendigo Advertiser article in 2007 on
turning 90 she said: I really feel that
theres something among the firemen.
They were wonderful and the
outlying brigades always seemed to
be there, she said. Theres nothing
like a good fire brigade to get to the
bottom of things. You just knew
you had a job to do. You didnt really
spend much time thinking about it.
In Andys case, the apple didnt fall far
from the tree.
It is amazing to think of Andys
reign as Captain for not only these
past six years since I have been
secretary, but also for the previous 20,
and his involvement overall for more
than 40 years. I know that rarely
an hour passes where Andy isnt

11

thinking about the Elphinstone Fire


Brigade, or speaking of it, or planning
for improvements within the Brigade
- all in an extremely passionate way.
To say it is a time consuming role
is an understatement, and with an
obvious devotion to the role for so
many years, its truly staggering to
think about.
I know that Andy finds firefighting
an emotional business as we have
discussed it quite a bit. There is
something stirring in the soul to see
the big CFA machine kick into gear
and volunteers from near and far
come to assist. To see a cavalry of
trucks arriving at a big event is truly
a sight to behold and can bring a tear
to the eye. Also meeting fire affected
or road accident victims when they
are their most vulnerable can be an
emotional time in offering some form
of comfort to them. Even when Andy
is busy managing a large or stressful
event, he is very perceptive to pick up
on those who are struggling to cope,
often assigning Brigade members to
take a step back to protect or take
care of persons affected at the scene

December 2015

respond in a high pressure situation is


of an incident.
extraordinary. We are very fortunate
Andy instinctively responds to
every fire and other emergency event to have someone of his calibre who
in an unwavering, stoic fashion. He is also committed to participating
with experienced or new members
builds confidence in his team, and
holds no gender barriers. He accepts alike in the everyday basic training
unequivocal, personal responsibility - encouraging, coaching through
repetition, seeking feedback and
for his patch of Elphinstone. He
would have to have one of the highest always open to learning something
percentage, most efficient, turn out new himself.
I have never witnessed a person
records of any CFA member. Andys
give so much personally in time and
leadership comes to the fore at the
larger events, but arrives promptly on effort in a voluntary capacity, not even
scene at any event, no matter the size, drawing upon his very conservative
which requires his skilled assessment Captains allowance to cover a minor
and contribution. He is well sought part of phone costs, etc. but instead
donating it back to the Brigade. His
after and looked up to by many
Brigades within the region as a most belief is that this is a voluntary role,
competent Strike Team Leader, and as purely a community service but in
a Sector Commander, where he truly fact Andys contribution is much more
comes into his own. Much preferring than that he contributes in many
to be managing an incident from the ways with no expectation in return.
fireground than at an Incident Control Andy has a well-functioning Brigade
Centre behind a desk, his ability to
which he leads in a consultative style.
read a large fire or emergency and
Like all true leaders, he has strong

Elpho Info

12

opinions which are not always well


received by CFA management, but his
opinions are only ever formed around
common sense and getting the job
done as simply and effectively as
possible.
Andy is a very motivating Captain
who has the utmost respect from all
members of the Brigade. His main
aim is always to bring everyone home
safely and with his vast experience
and knowledge, we know that we
could not be in better hands.
On behalf of the Brigade members,
I would like to congratulate Andy
Chapman on the award he is about to
receive, which could not be presented
to a more deserving person than our
Elphinstone Captain, a genuine local
hero.
Tracey Franze

December 2015