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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 7, May 1967

[Part Three. For part two see Journal 6: Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade (continued) - E]

By C. W. MALCOLM

ERRATA. October -1966 Journal, re caption under Photo of "Paeroa Fire Brigade",

The Secretary was R.Sephton, not R.T.Bush who was Treasurer.

Previous instalments dealt with the early period when the administration of the Brigade was purely a local matter, but the years have brought changes.

Under the unified Dominion-wide Fire Service control the Brigade may now be called further afield than the local borough. It has been called as far as Waitoa on the occasion of the large dairy factory fire - administration and control are vastly more efficient, but the spirit is the same as when Captain O'Hara, away back in 1898 sent his Lieutenant and a detachment of his men to assist the old Karangahake Brigade in the early hours of an October morning.

THE BRIGADE IN CONFERENCE AND COMPETITION

There are doubtless many people who do not realise the extent of the Brigades-man's activities outside the field of actual fire-fighting. A N.Z. HERALD article in 1957 says: The sacrifice and rigid training of a Rugby player preparing for a Ranfurly Shield game is matched by firemen who really take competition work to heart. Enthusiasm penetrates to almost every corner of the land. For instance, says the HERALD, the top eight Brigades at the last championships held in Greymouth two years ago, were Kinleith, Paeroa, Hastings, Reefton, Waitara, Patea Freezing Works, Balclutha and Mangakino in that order.

In 1955 the Paeroa team of Fourth Officer W.M. Rackham, Secretary Eric F. Pett, Motorman Eric Hampton, and Fireman Noel Thompson, were runners-up in the Dominion Championships. They brought home to Paeroa the following trophies:

THE HIGH PRESSURE SHIELD; THE MANUAL SHIELD; and THE DICK WEBB TROPHY

They were

It was two years earlier, in 1953, at Hastings that Paeroa first broke through to championship level. There, under the direction of Chief Fire Officer Ernie Moore, with his respected father ex-superintendent W.J. (Shorty) Moore proudly looking on, Fourth Officer Rackham and Motorman Hampton were Dominion winners of the Two Men Dressing Event.

It had been a long road to victory!

In February, 1898 Firemen Cassidy and Avey were sent to Auckland to compete in the Rescue Event at the "Demo", the firemen's term for Competition or "Demonstration". At the same time Captain O'Hara was appointed the Brigade's Delegate to the Conference.

In 1899 at Coromandel two teams from Paeroa competed in the Three Men Hose and Hydrant, The Two Men Ladder Rescue, and The Quarter Mile Race in Full Uniform!

In April, 1899, Fireman McGill gives a "graphic account" of his trip to Queenstown as Delegate to the United Fire Brigades' Association Conference. In December of the same year Captain Hunt, Lieutenant Casley, and Secretary Howie left for the U.F.B.A. "Demo" at New Plymouth. It was in May, 1900 that Captain Hunt gave a report on a meeting in Auckland re forming an Association for the Auckland Province, but the Paeroa Brigade favoured the formation of an Ohinemuri Fire Brigades' Union and instructed its delegates to support Captain Collins of the Waitekauri Brigade as first President.

In November 1901 two teams were sent to the UFBA "Demo" at Thames.

In 1904 Captain Moore was the Brigade's Delegate to Te Aroha. Secretary P.E. Brenan was sent to Nelson (1905), Christchurch (1907), and Masterton in 1908. Then followed the unique record of Captain W.J. Moore:- Hastings (l910), Hokitika (1911), Rotorua (1912), Wanganui (1913), Akaroa (l914), Timaru (1915), Westport (1916), Balclutha (1917), Tauranga (1918), Invercargill (1919); a team to Napier in 1921 includes Lieutenant Rolton and Fireman Dave McWatters. There are possibly gaps in the record, but it is Captain Moore to Rotorua in 1924, and Fireman Charles Rolton to Christchurch in 1925. Captain Moore and a team go to Dunedin in 1926, Captain Moore to Gisborne (1927), New Plymouth (1928), Hokitika (1929), Whangarei (1930), Nelson (1931), Wellington (1933), Hamilton (1934), Hastings (1936), Nelson with team of Firemen Ernie Martin and Alec Armour in 1937, Captain Moore to New Plymouth (1938), Wanganui (1939), Petone (1940), and to a special War Conference in Wellington in 1942, also attended by Secretary C.W. Malcolm who would not stand against his Chief but was sent to represent the Rangitaiki Brigade. In 1943, however, when Superintendent Moore and Secretary Malcolm were both nominated, the latter was elected and represented the Paeroa Brigade in Wellington. "Shorty" Moore's joumeyings to every part of New Zealand at so many UFBA Conferences made him a well-known and extremely popular figure throughout the whole Fire Service of the Dominion.

One of the most handsome trophies now competedfor throughout New Zealand is theSHORTY MOORE TROPHY. This is a handsome silver figure of a fireman in action, bearing on its base a portrait of the late "Shorty Moore" surrounded by the small silver shields with the names of the biennial winners of the trophy. This trophy will ensure for all time the perpetuation of the memory of Paeroa's honoured Fire Chief.


THE MOORE FAMILY: WILLIAM J.MOORE 58 YEARS;

ERNEST W.MOORE 50 YEARS;

HAROLD A.MOORE 21 YEARS; TOTAL FAMILY SERVICE: 129 YEARS.

WILLIAM JOHN MOORE first joined the Fire Service as an "auxiliary" in Auckland and in 1889 joined up with the Thames Brigade. On July 6, 1900 he was elected a member of the Paeroa Brigade. On March 13, 1903, he was appointed Foreman to assist Captain Hunt in the working of the Brigade by which means the Brigade prevailed upon Mr Hunt to withdraw his resignation. On 26 June, 1903, when Captain Hunt did resign, an election resulted in "Shorty" Moore becoming Captain of the Brigade. When it is remembered that the Brigade elected its officers every year, it is a remarkable record that Captain Moore held office until July 2, 1946, FORTY-THREE YEARS, when his son, Ernie was elected as his first successor. As the years began to take their toll, the Brigade conferred upon their Chief the title of Life Advisory Superintendent and accorded him a place of honour on all occasions.

ERNEST WILLIAM MOORE, also known as "Shorty" joined the Brigade as Messenger on 9 July, 1909. Less than two years later he was elected Secretary, and on the 20 November 1923, Lieutenant. When his father's title changed from "Captain" to "Superintendent", he became Deputy Superintendent, the old term "Lieutenant" becoming obsolete throughout the Fire Service. He became Chief Fire Officer, the new title in place of "Superintendent" on 2 July, 1946. Under the FIRE SERVICES ACT making age-retirement compulsory in the Fire Service, he retired in 1960, having served the town of Paeroa for over 50 years. He is now a Life Honorary Member of the Brigade.

HAROLD A. MOORE, also widely known as "Shorty" was a member of the Paeroa Brigade for 21 years including his services overseas in the Second World War. In the tradition of his father and brother, he was a first-rate fire-fighter and a keen fireman on the competition track. He also, is a Life Honorary Member of the Paeroa Brigade.

The MOORE FAMILY record in the Fire Service is surely unique. But they served the town in many other ways; as the Mayor, Edwin Edwards said on the occasion of Supt. W.J. Moore's Fifty Years' Function in the Civic Hall: "Despite his commitments to the Brigade, Superintendent Moore had still found time to take part in many activities in the town and had served on the patriotic committee, concert parties, athletic sports, played football, refereed football, and later served as chairman of the Paeroa Rugby Union. One particular feature in Superintendent Moore's life", continues the report in the HAURAKI PLAINS GAZETTE, "had been the comradeship which existed between him and his family. The family ties were exceedingly close", the Mayor continued.

What was not known then by many people, if by any, was the fact that father and son used frequently to discuss how they would attack fires should they break out in this large building or that. Such conversations took place as they motored or walked through the streets. The fire protection of the town could not have been in better hands. This is surely confirmed by the records,

OFFICERS OF THE PAEROA VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE

CHIEF OFFICERS

     

CAPTAIN JOSEPH NATHAN

1895

CAPTAIN JOHN O'HARA

6.12.1895

CAPTAIN JOHN E. HUNT

l7.11.l899

CAPTAIN Wm. J. MOORE

26.7.1903

CFO E. W. MOORE

2.7.1946

CFO L.P. MATTHEWS

1.10.1960

       

DEPUTY CHIEF OFFICERS

     

F.C. GRIFFITH

1895

HARRY MOORE

30.4.1897

W.J. HAWK

20.12.1898

JOHN E. HUNT

8.9.1899

THOS. CASLEY

17.11.1899

PHILIP E. BRENAN

1.5.1908

E. (TED) HART

11.11.1910

HRRY SPINKS

20.6.1912

CHARLES ROLTON

13.12.1920

ERNEST W. MOORE

20.11.1923

ERNEST MARTIN

8.7.1930

HARRY J. WILTON

11.11.1930

ERNEST W. MOORE

9.11.1933

A.J. (TONY) TOMICH

2.7.1946

LEN. P. MATTHEWS

1.4.1960

GORDON B. DAVIES

1.10.1960

       

LIFE HONORARY MEMBERS

     

Mr GEORGE CROSBY

10.7.1896

Fire: HARRY MOORE

28.7.1899

Fire W.J. HAWK

8.9.1899

Capt. JOHN E. HUNT

26.6.1903

Fireman PARLBY

14.8.1903

Lieut. CASLEY

(later Mayor Paeroa)

1.5.1908

Lieut. P. E. BRENAN

11.11.1910

Fire: Wm. E. WARD

2.7.1935

Fire: E. GOLDSWORTHY

5.1.1917

Secretary-Foreman C.W. MALCOLM

11.9.1945

Fire: CHAS. ROLTON

3.1936

   

Since 1945

Ex-Foreman H.J. WILTON

Ex-Deputy CFO A.J. TOMICH

Fire: ERIC HAMPTON

Ex-Fireman HAROLD A. MOORE

Ex-Fireman ALEX A. ARMOUR

Ex-Fireman JOE. FRAEI

Third Officer JACK PASCOE

Deputy CFO GORDON DAVIES

Ex-CFO ERNEST W. MOORE

Secretary ERIC F.S. PETT

       

HONORARY SURGEONS:

     

Dr. FORBES

1895

Dr. L.S. Davis

1.4.1930

Dr. BUCKBY

23.2.1900

Dr. S. L. HASLETT(Gold Star April 1925)

1936

Dr. T.G. SMITH

April, 1900

   
       

SECRETARIES

     

ASWIN Charles

23.10.1895

SEPHTON R.

15.6.1896

HUNT JOHN E.

1.7.1898

HOWIE J.

8.9.1899

DELANY Percy J.

19.10.1900

FORSYTH George.

14.3.1902

BRENAN Philip E.

4.3.1904

McWATTERS David

1.5.1908

McGEEHIN

25.6.1909

DEMPSEY Reg.

21.1.1910

CASLEY Steward

11.11.1910

CAMPBELL Arch.

20.3.1911

MOORE Ernest W

26.5.1911

CARTHY

9.11.1916

McWATTERS David

7.12.1916

HART George

22.3.1920

PENNELL W. (Seever)

1.6.1920

SHAW Eugene L.

13.12.1920

MALCOLM C.W.

18.11.1926

PETT Eric F.

11.9.1945

 

THE AUXILIARY FIRE CORPS

In July, 1940 the BOROUGH COUNCIL required the preparation of an EMERGENCY FIRE SCHEME as part of the EMERGENCY PRECAUTIONS ORGANIZATION for the Borough. The Scheme was drawn up by the Brigade Secretary and Foreman (Third Officer), C.W. Malcolm. The town was divided into Fire Districts, Boy Scouts were trained as Fire Patrol Scouts, and a list was prepared of men to form a Fire Corps.

The EMERGENCY FIRE COMMITTEE consisted of Deputy Superintendent E.W.Moore (Convener), Councillor Ben Gwilliam Senior, and Foreman C.W. Malcolm, with Supt.W.J. Moore ex-officio in an advisory capacity. In 1942 the Brigade held 72 meetings and practices and the Auxiliary Corps mustered 67 times mostly for training. In November the Roll of the AUXILIARY FIRE CORPS was:

Dave McWatters

Cliff Strong

D. Henwood

Ray Nield

Wm. Bain

L.J. Jamieson

Charles Cane

P. Martin

J.W. Stinear

R. Ardern

R.J. Trotter Sen.

L.F. Martin

G.J. Large

A.W. Vercoe

Cliff Speechlay

E. Duncan

The Brigade met weekly on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. for business, the Auxiliary Corps parading with the Brigade at 7.30 for training and practice. Messrs Brocket and Shand (Grocers) placed their delivery truck at the disposal of the Brigade as an "auxiliary fire tender" and it could be seen at practices following the fire engine, loaded with Auxiliary Firemen and equipment.

Equipment was a problem and it was only after the threat of Japanese attack had passed and the Auxiliary Corps was disbanded on 28th September, 1943 that a trailer pump was supplied together with really adequate supplies of hose. In 1943 Messrs Dave McWatters, Cliff Strong, and Ray Nield were promoted to Substitute Firemen in the Brigade in place of Firemen on military service overseas.

A HUMOROUS EPISODE should be recorded. Foreman Malcolm received high praise for his EMERGENCY FIRE SCHEME until he himself saw its major disadvantage. On Saturday 24th May 1941 the town was in the grip of an EMERGENCY PRECAUTIONS TEST. Groups were at work repairing imaginary breaks in water mains and power lines; casualty stations were being manned; and the Fire Service was receiving calls to imaginary fires (in the Aurora Theatre; the Post Office; the Railway Tearooms and the Atlantic Oil Depot). The Brigade and Auxiliary Corps moved enmasse to the first fire. When the second call came, a small detachment remained to handle the first fire while the whole company moved on to the next. At this stage Foreman Malcolm suddenly realised that keeping the whole Fire Service together instead of dispersing them in small groups could mean that one enemy bomb could wipe out the entire fire-fighting personnel. Thinking he would try this out on the Chief Controller Mayor Edwin Edwards, Foreman Malcolm despatched a cyclist to Headquarters with the message: "Whole Brigade wiped out by enemy bomb". He had forgotten that the day's test was for an imaginary earthquake! Back came the runner from Wyn Edwards with the written directive: "Please suspend enemy action till after earthquake".

EDWIN EDWARDS, M.B.E., was always an admirer and loyal supporter of the Paeroa Fire Brigade, When he was Mayor (and on all occasions) he was a welcome guest at Brigade functions where his happy and appropriate speeches were characterised by his apt manner of giving praise and encouragement to officers and men whose services forthe "home town" he always appreciated.

In the days when firemen ran to fires pulling the hand-reel, Mr Edwards' Ford car might be seen, firemen aboard, an arm protruding from the back seat as a towing-bar, the reel following behind at such speed that pieces of fire-fighting equipment were shed in a trail along the rough Paeroa roads of those days, pot-holes being not uncommon!

BRIEF CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY

1895

October 23

Brigade formed – Captain Joseph Nathan

 

December 6

Captain John O'Hara

1896

June 29

Manual Fire Engine used for first time (practice).

 

November 9

P.S. "Patiki" chartered for picnic at Netherton. Paeroa Band also on board.

1898

 

Man-drawn hand reel used in place of manual engine.

 

October 29

Detachment sent to help with big Karangahake fire.

1899

November 17

Captain John E. Hunt.

1900

January 28

Church Memorial Service parade for Trooper George Rowland Bradford first colonial to fall Boer War.

 

May 18

Brigade in procession at rejoicing for the Relief of Mafeking; addresses from balcony of Criterion Hotel.

 

May 20

VICTORIA STREET FIRE

 

July 6

Wm. J. Moore elected a member of the Brigade.

1901

February 2

Firebell tolled two hours: Death QUEEN VICTORIA.

 

June 21

BRIGADE TRANSFERS FROM WHARF ST. TO NEW FIRE STATION IN BELMONT ROAD.

1902

June 8

Thanksgiving Service in Criterion Theatre for Peace in South Africa.

 

June 24

Brigade accepted invitation to take part in Coronation Procession (Edward VII) and take charge of the Fireworks Display on Primrose Hill in the evening.

1903

June 26

Captain Wm. J. Moore.

 

September 11

Philip E. Brenan (later Mayor) elected a member.

1905

 

TEAM GOES TO DUNEDIN: Capt. Moore, Secretary Brenan (Delegate and Manager), Fletcher, McGuire, Hart, Peters, and Shaw.

1906

September 22

Paeroa Brigade v. Waihi Brigade rugby match at Waihi.

1908

February 14

FIRE IN OHINEMURI GAZETTE WORKS in Wharf Street. Owner – Edwin Edwards; occupier – W.D. Nicholas.

1909

June 30

10.15 p.m. OHINEMURI HOTEL FIRE.

 

July 9

Ernest W. Moore joins Brigade as Messenger.

 

November 3

McANDREWS' SASH AND DOOR FACTORY £12,000 fire.

1910

May 13

Invitation accepted to turn out for King's Funeral.

 

August 10

PAEROA SCHOOL FIRE, Wood Street.

1912

February 19

CROSBY'S FATAL FIRE.

1912

 

NEW HAND REEL BUILT BY MR. BILLMAN FOR THE BRIGADE.

1914 - 1918

 

THE GREAT WARD: Eleven fireman go; 3 killed in action.

1915

 

TEAM GOES TO TIMARU. Picture Benefit to meet expenses.

1915

 

PAEROA BECOMES A BOROUGH

1916

February 10

BOROUGH COUNCIL TAKES OVER THE FIRE BRIGADE to be controlled by FIRE PREVENTION COMMITTEE.

 

July 27

CITY BUFFETT (CENTRAL BOARDINGHOUSE) FIRE.

 

November 11

MEDHURST'S FIRE.

1917

October

FIRE COUNCIL

set up including three members of the Brigade in additional to the Borough Councillors.

1918

August 3

MASONIC (or DONELLY'S) FIRE.

 

August 22

CRITERON THEATRE FIRE.

1919

July 19

Brigade with decorated reel in Peace Celebrations.

1923

October 15

MONTROSE HOUSE FIRE

1923

November 23

Lieutenant E.W. Moore.

1924

March 4

BRIGADE MOVED TO NEW FIRE STATION IN HALL STREET.

1926

May 26

NEW FIRE ENGINE (MODEL T FORD) built by E.W. Moore at Brenan & Co.

1930

February 20

10.15 a.m. Bridge at Unveiling of Cenotaph.

 

March 29

DR. T.G. SMITH, Hon. Surgeon buried with Fire Brigade honours.

1931

July 17

4.10 p.m. Shaw's two-storeyed house Junction Rd. destroyed by fire.

1935

November 23-30

FIRST FIRE PREVENTION WEEK – displays every night, Mayoral inspection, and public school fire drill, etc.

1936

January 26

DEATH OF KING GEORGE V – Sunday 11 a.m. at request of Mayor, Brigade paraded at Presbyterian Church.

 

January 28

7.30 p.m. Sunset Requiem Service on Primrose Hill.

 

December 14

2.30 p.m. Bridge paraded at Post Office for the Proclamation of King George VI.

1937

May 12

Brigade in procession and at Civic Service for the Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth.

1938

February 22

HARVEY EVANS' MILL FIRE, Thames Road. Eel blocks nozzle and standpipe cutting off water! Smoke masks used for first time.

1939

October 30

SALT'S RAILWAY BOARDING HOUSE FIRE, Railway Street.

1940

 

FIRST OF FOUR MEMBERS LEAVES FOR SECOND WORLD WAR. AUXILIARY FIRE CORPS SET UP AND TRAINED.

1942

 

Brocket and Shand (Grocers) grant use of delivery truck as auxiliary fire tender.

1943

 

AUXILIARY FIRE CORPS DISBANDED and uniforms handed in. TRAILER PUMP for Auxiliary Fire Corps arrives!

1943

January 11

Rear compartment of fire engine loaded with 700 ft. of newly issued hose with instantaneous couplings. This was ultimately to be increased to replace all old type screw couplings.

1944

October 16

NEW UP-TO-DATE FIRE ENGINE WITH PUMP INSTALLED.

1945

 

SUPERINTENDENT W.J. MOORE while still in command was made HONORARY LIFE MEMBER

with title for life of HON. SUPERINTENDENT.

1946

July 2

Ernest W. Moore Chief Fire Officer in place of his father, Hon. Superintendent W.J. Moore.

1948

December 13

WHARF STREET FIRE.

1950

April 1

PAEROA URBAN FIRE AUTHORITY

, under FIRE SERVICES ACT, takes over the control of the Brigade from the Borough Council.

1952

September 20

OLD BANK OF NEW ZEALAND FIRE opposite Criterion Hotel.

1953

 

UFBA DEMONSTRATION AT HASTINGS: Paeroa wins Two Men Dressing Even: Fourth Officer Rackham and Motorman Hampton.

1955

 

UFBA DEMONSTRATION AT GREYMOUTH: Paeroa Team were runners-up for Dominion Champion Brigade; 3 shields won; team – Fourth Officer Rackham, Secretary Pett, Motorman Hampton, and Fireman Thompson.

1960

October 1

On retirement of CFO Ernest W. Moore, Len. P. Matthews becomes Chief Fire Officer.

1962

 

BRIGADE EQUIPPED WITH A SECOND MACHINE – THE LANDROVER.

 

FOOT NOTE : "THE STRANGEST RECORD"

The Minute Book of the Brigade solemnly records a special meeting held on 18th September, l916, at which the Brigade (or those present) changed the officers: Lieut. Spinks was elected Captain, Fireman Goldsworthy became Lieutenant, and C. Syme Secretary. This was a bloodless revolution - the only one in the Brigade's history!

However, the very next page, and the very next meeting, records the usual presence of "Captain Moore, Lieutenant Spinks, and Secretary Ernest Moore" -all as if it had never happened, and what is more, the minutes of the revolutionary special meeting were even "passed as read"! Like Lord Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen, all must have put the glass to the blind eye! Perhaps those who had been elevated in rank for their brief hour of fame agreed with the poet that:-

"One crowded hour of glorious life

Is worth an age without a name".

[see also Journal 11: Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade - E]