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I got this hat

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At 11am on Wednesday, 25 May people around Australia will be reading I got this hat by Jol and Kate Temple, illustrated by Jon Foye, as part of National Simultaneous Storytime 2016.

To coincide with the event, Concord Library has a display of hats on loan from the City of Canada Bay Museum. It includes a range of ladies’ hats from the 1950s and 1960s, a Concord Citizens’ Band cap and military hats. Pride of place goes to the NSW Fire Brigade’s brass helmet. The photograph shows Volunteer Fireman Walter S. Pettit of the Rhodes Fire Brigade, about 1930, looking resplendent in one of these magnificent helmets.

The prominent top comb provided extra strength to the helmet as well as added protection against falling objects. The comb is decorated with a stylised dragon which is a reference to the dragon being, in some mythologies at least, a guardian spirit.

The brass helmets were, incidentally, made locally by Rider & Bell Pty Ltd at Cavell Street, Rhodes.

Come along and join in the fun at the library on 25 May 2016.

Drummoyne Fire Brigade

Drummoyne Fire Station

The Drummoyne Volunteer Fire Brigade had modest beginnings in 1892. It occupied rented premises (basically a wooden shed) on Cambridge Street which was later renamed Bridge Street and today forms part of Victoria Road. There were five volunteer members and one hand pulled hose reel.

The first fire which the brigade responded to was on the 12th December 1892, when a weatherboard summer house in Lyons Road burned down as a result of ‘children playing with matches’.

In 1896 the brigade was able to purchase the Cambridge Street site and built a small brick station. In 1898 a horse drawn manual engine was acquired, as shown in the photograph above.

The present station on Lyons Road, Drummoyne was completed and occupied on 30th June 1910.

Rhodes Fire Station

Recently, Greg McIlwaine lent photographs and documents from his family collection to be copied and added to Canada Bay Connections.

In 1914 Charles McIlwaine, who had been a fireman at Darlinghurst, bought land at Rhodes as the site for his family home. He founded the Rhodes Volunteer Fire Brigade which at first operated with a hand drawn fire hose. Charles’ son Vic later served as Captain of the Rhodes Fire Station while the position is currently held by his grandson, Captain Greg McIlwaine.

The photograph shows Rhodes firemen about 1930 on a no. 87 Willys-Knight fire engine. Captain Charles McIlwaine is seated in front alongside the driver. Local firm Rider & Bell Pty Ltd, of Cavell Street, Rhodes began manufacturing brass helmets for the NSW Fire Brigade in about 1942, after British helmets became unavailable.

McIlwaine Park at Rhodes is named after Charles McIlwaine commemorating his and his family’s remarkable service to the community across three generations.