Eighty years of fire fighting were celebrated at the Robertson Rural Fire Service shed last Wednesday, when past and present members joined with the community and representatives from other brigades to recognise the anniversary.
The event came at the height of the state's fire emergency, lending a sense of poignancy to the occasion.
Current Robertson RFS captain Brendhan Waters spoke about the history of the brigade, which it is believed was launched in response to a serious bushfire threat.
"Robertson RFB was officially formed on February 25, 1939, but unofficially it was probably active as a group of locals brought together about six weeks earlier, on January 14, 1939," said Mr Waters.
"To our knowledge, which is sketchy at best, that day in 1939 was the one and only time the village of Robertson was seriously threatened.
"The district was 70-100 years old and yet up until that period no official recorded bush fire brigades had been formed. Why?
"There have been lots of times pre and post that date where big uncontrollable bush fires raced across the Highlands including the Robertson area. At Robertson our unique environment (at least for the Highlands) makes us less susceptible to fires, but not immune."
He said that the 1939 fires were exceptional due to the environmental conditions, involving extremely dry winds of around 100 kilometres per hour, and temperatures above 40 degrees."
Combined with the fuel load and a serious drought, the rating in today's terms would have been a 'catastrophic' one of 220.
Mr Waters added that the RFS responds to emergencies of many kinds, not just fires.
"Basically, as well as fires, if there are situations where government agencies or emergency services need help or they don't know who to call, our pagers go off. We're trained to size up a situation and call for whatever and whoever is needed. If it's a fire, we take the lead, if not, we contain, assist and wait for whoever needs to handle the situation."
Group officer Russell Moore also addressed the crowd, giving an update on the Green Wattle Creek fires, a sobering reminder of the importance of the RFS to our communities now and into the future.