Fire and Water

fire truck
Fire truck

There was a time when Beaudesert folk fought fires with buckets of water. Back yard tanks were used from which to throw water on the flames. It was such a bucket brigade that saved Dr. Beet’s cottage in Albert Street from destruction in 1912. 

By the time a little tea shop near the corner of Brisbane and Eaglesfield Streets burnt to the ground in 1929, there was a horse trough filled with water in Davidson Park which helped to save the two adjoining buildings from ruin. As the cry of fire went out, the bucket brigade formed a chain from the horse trough, across the road to the fire scene, passing buckets of water scooped from the trough. 

Beaudesert had two horse troughs back then, the other at the mill end of town. These troughs played an important role in the development of local industries by providing water for the bullock teams passing through with their heavy loads. Both troughs were connected to the train-water-supply which came from rail tanks, having been pumped from the Logan River. Years later, young ladies used the trough to water their ponies after a ride into town.

With no volunteer fire brigade it was the tea shop fire which stirred the community into forming a volunteer Brigade towards the end of 1929. The time was ripe, as electricity was switched on in Beaudesert the previous year, enabling a call-to-fire whistle on top of the Power House to be operated by compressed air. 

A pump was attached to a convenient home tank, and the water forced onto the fire. The tank in use was kept filled with water by a chain of buckets from other accessible tanks.

The hand pump had to be carried to a home tank by four men and placed on the ground nearby. The hose was then connected to the tank, and crews took turns pumping water to the fire. It was hard, puffing work and required training and skill to master. 

Later the first vehicle obtained by the Brigade was a Model T Ford 1 ton truck, and an old engine from a travelling picture show. On the back of the truck was fitted an old pump from the Butter Factory. The Oregon pine ladder, donated by R. T. Warren, served the community for many years on different vehicles.

By the 1940s, interest in the volunteer fire brigade ebbed, mainly due to the lack of a reliable town water supply. People had stood by as the CWA Rest Rooms burned to the ground in 1946 because of lack of water. It was said: “There was little the brigade could do with portion of a tank of water at its disposal”. Beaudesert needed a reticulated water supply.

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About Keer Moriarty 481 Articles
Small town newspaper Editor, journo, social media manager and tea lady.