Thursday, 20 Jul 2017
Born and bred in Muttaburra, where his family has been living for 109 years, Tyrel Spence has been employed since July 2015 as a casual BTSO in the Barcaldine/Emerald area.
This year he has been Acting/Brigade Training and Support Officer for all but 6 weeks and he will be out on the road delivering training with an average of 2 – 3 days a week in the office.
With the number of brigades in the Barcaldine/Emerald Area totalling 182 and on Tyrel’s side (Barcaldine) has around 90 brigades covering from Alpha to Kynuna down to South Australian boarder with 7 village brigades, other 2 truck classification brigades and 79 non-truck brigades (Primary Producer Brigades).
Brigade training conducted by Tyrel coincides with brigade meetings or delivering new equipment, and as travel distances are so great he will never go out to do one task in the one visit, but will put together a full brigade service inviting neighbouring brigades as well.
Training is set at whatever time suits the brigade and a swag is always in the back of the car to sleep wherever needed which is usually at the hospitality of a brigade member. This happens on average once a week and saves the area budget accommodation costs which can instead be reinvested back into brigade support.
Tyrel is also Muttaburra RFB 2nd Officer, Secretary, Treasurer, Training Officer, Deputy Fire Warden and Group Leader of the Muttaburra SES.
The name of the town derived from an Aboriginal word mootaburra meaning “the meeting of waters” or "camping ground" or "meeting place".[ In 1963 Muttaburra was the discovery site of the Muttaburrasaurus, one of Australia's largest dinosaurs, by Doug Langdon (deceased) (brigade Member 2002 – 2014) and with a population of about 90, Muttaburra is the closest town to the geographic centre of Queensland and justly boasts of being the heart of Queensland.
The Muttaburra volunteer fire brigade was formed in 1948 as the town Progress Association decided that it would be a good idea as there had been a fire in the town. At some stage, perhaps the mid 70s/80s, it was converted to an Auxiliary station and then transitioned back to a Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) in 2002.
The Auxiliary appliance was removed and the brigade received a second hand Canter from Gracemere RFB and this was replaced in August 2015 with a dual cab new Izuzu. In addition to the truck, the brigade also has a high pressure 500 litre slip on unit and a 1,000L trailer unit. The brigade still has the original Muttaburra RFB fire appliance from 1950’s which is a 1948 Willys Fire truck housed at the station.
Muttaburra RFB has 21 members including 13 firefighters. The oldest brigade member is 83 and the youngest is 21 with training held once a month.
Each year in April the brigade goes to every house in Muttaburra and replaces the smoke alarm batteries. This year the brigade voted to install a new photoelectric smoke alarm into every residence. The brigade saw this as another way to give back to the community and will look at installing photoelectric smoke alarms into community not for profit buildings next year.
Muttaburra collects a $60 Rural Fire Levy, and with the new fuel and maintenance support the brigade has been able to extend its support to the township.
Tyrel is also a keen collector of stationary engines with a speciality in Lister. If you go out to Muttaburra, get in contact with Tyrel and the brigade as they would love to show you how they manage risk and community defence in the west.