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Captain Tom Chalmers & Firefighters Greg Eley & Peter HawkinsPrint Page Print this page

The plaque was unveiled at the site in memory of volunteer fire fighters Captain Tom Chalmers & Greg Eley & Peter Hawkins, who lost their lives while protecting the Blue Mountains community from bushfires in 1968. The memorial plaque commemorates the 50th anniversary of their deaths. 

During the period 15 October until 3 December 1968, a bushfire damaged the Blue Mountains region; affected areas included Valley Heights, Warrimoo, Blaxland and Emu Plains. The conditions of a particularly dry spring allowed the fire to burn for approximately four weeks. Winds up to 100 kilometres per hour intensified the fire front.

The bushfire caused widespread damage to infrastructure, houses and buildings; a total of 1,500,000 hectares were burnt.  Fourteen people died as a result of the fire. The damage bill was estimated at approximately £1,500,000.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has acknowledged the service of three Blue Mountains members who were tragically killed in the 1968 Springwood bush fires. David Clarke MLC joined local volunteers at the unveiling of the memorial plaque at the Shaw’s Ridge Fire Trail in Winmalee today.

“Killed in the line of duty on 29 October 1968, Captain Tom Chalmers of the Faulconbridge Brigade and firefighters Greg Eley and Peter Hawkins of the Warrimoo Brigade were selfless and committed volunteers who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Mr Clarke said. "Today is an opportunity to recognise their lives and exemplary dedication, and to thank them for their incredible service to the community. “This memorial will serve as an ongoing reminder of the sacrifice they made to protect the community, and be a special place their fellow firefighters can visit to honour their memory.”

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said that it is an unfortunate fact that members of the service are often working in the most dangerous of circumstances. "Day after day, hundreds of men and women across the state put their lives on the line for the protection of their communities,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said. “Volunteers go out of their way to help people caught by natural disasters, be it a bushfire, storm or flood, or those who find themselves lost or in accidents.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said today is an opportunity to honour the sacrifice made by all volunteers, especially these three brave men, who never came home.

"Tom, Greg and Peter’s unwavering dedication stands as a testimony to the calibre of our volunteer firefighters,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said. “Their brigades, colleagues and families should be rightly proud of their legacy."
NSW Fire Service, 28 October 2018.

Location

Address:Shaws Ridge Fire Trail, Winmalee, 2777
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.662818
Long: 150.611298
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Tragedy
Actual Event Start Date:29-October-1968
Actual Event End Date:29-October- 1968

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 28th October, 2018
Front Inscription
On 29 October 1968, At This Site, Three
Volunteers Fire Fighters Gave Their Lives In
The Service Of Protecting The Community
Of The Blue Mountains

CAPTAIN TOM CHALMERS
Faulconbridge Bush Fire Brigade

FIRE FIGHTER GREG ELEY
Warrimoo Bush Fire Brigade

FIRE FIGHTER PETER HAWKINS
Warrimoo Bush Fire Brigade

The Sacrifice Made And Their Families 
Loss Will Forever Be Remembered

Greater Love Hath No Man
28 October 2018
 
Source: MA
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