The announcement that Weston Fire Station will remain open was music to the ears of the Frame family.
Descendants of long-serving fire brigade captain Edward John ‘Bluey’ Frame were among those who gathered at the station last Wednesday to celebrate the announcement.
Edward’s two surviving children, Alex Frame and Dawn O’Connor, and his granddaughter Julie Frame Falk (daughter of Mervyn Frame) recalled their family’s proud links to the Weston fire brigade.
Edward served as a volunteer firefighter with the Weston brigade for 52 years, including 24 years as captain.
His involvement with the brigade dates back even further – in 1907 (at the age of 18) he was part of a group of volunteers who raised money for a fire station to be built in the town.
The group contributed two shillings and sixpence per week to the fund.
Land was bought from the Weston School of Arts and in 1909 the station opened, equipped with a hose reel which firefighters used to pull around the town.
The Weston brigade became part the Kurri Kurri District when the Board of Fire Commissioners took over in 1910, and the volunteers were no longer required to pay their 2/6 contribution.
Weston's first motorised firefighting vehicle, an Essex Hose Carrier, was installed in October 1927.
Edward joined the volunteer brigade in July 1913, and became captain and engine keeper in April 1941.
He was at the helm during the 1950s, when the brigade enjoyed success at many firefighting sports competitions, travelling as far as Grafton, Wagga Wagga, Katoomba and Orange.
Edward’s sons Arthur and Mervyn also joined the brigade, and between the three of them they gave almost 90 years’ service.
Edward had attended more than 2000 fires by the time he retired in 1965, at the age of 76.
His service was believed to be a state record at the time, and on his retirement he was recognised by the Board of Fire Commissioners as an honorary member of the NSW Fire Service.
The park next door to Weston Fire Station was named Bluey Frame Park in his honour in 2003.
Dawn said her father was very devoted to his role with the fire brigade.
“He was always very vigilant,” she said.
“He would be very upset to think that anyone would want to close it down.
“It is very important that this fire station, and all fire stations, remain open.”
Julie agreed: “I don’t understand them wanting to merge or reducing services, if anything we need more,” she said.
“It’s a growing population but there is still a lot of bush.
“We’ve got to do what we can to keep it open.
“It makes you enraged to think that they wanted to close it down.”
In conjunction with Coalfields Heritage Group and members of the Facebook group ‘I Grew Up in Weston and I Survived’, Julie has compiled a comprehensive website documenting Weston’s history, which can be viewed here.