Norton Summit – Ashton Brigade History
In 1947 it was decided by the East Torrens Council and volunteers to mount the council truck with a portable water tank, pump (petrol) and long hose to help fight bushfires.
In 1948 Mr F.S. Eyre who was the district supervisor and council clerk, registered it as the Norton summit E.F.S.
This method worked all right for the time and was a big improvement on the few knapsacks, wet bags and branches that were normally used at the time. But there was only one truck and when a fire started, the people nearest to where the men were working had to be phoned and they would then have to race back, put on the tank and the equipment and go to the fire.
In 1958 a committee was formed with the late Mr Les Treloar as president, J.W Markings as deputy supervisor and G.Whitebread as well.
It was then registered as the Norton Summit /Ashton E.F.S. (Emergency Fire Service). The council was approached about a separate vehicle and it was decided to buy an ex-army ‘chev blitz’ for £300 pounds. The council paid 150 pounds and then with all available help from the committee and others, it was turned into a fire unit.
In 1961 Mr. J. Fellew was elected as chairman. In 1962 Mr. S.C Fiest was elected secretary/treasurer and in the same year it was decided to build a fire station to house the fire truck. The station was finally built on council land near the council chambers while the blitz unit had a hand siren attached in the same year. In 1963 the first 10 sets of overalls were purchased for 2 pounds 11 shillings.
In may 1964 a 4 wheel drive Land Rover vehicle was purchased as a second unit. The committee set to work on it in their spare time, took off the old aluminum body and built it up as a fire unit. It was operational in 1965.
In 1966 the Women’s Auxiliary was formed and with their help; the kitchen was completed, the E.F.S obtained the council’s permission to shift the radio and have an external telephone in the kitchen.
The electric siren, which was originally an air-raid siren, obtained from the military, was erected on a short pole near Jack Makings garage. The siren was converted to automatic telephone operation and then mounted on a windmill stand which had been resurrected from Government House ruins and subsequently re-erected on the hill near the Girl Guides Hut with the kind permission of Mr Chas Giles.
In 1967 the E.F.S building was opened by Mr F.L Kerr, SA Director of E.F.S. There was a good attendance at the ceremony by local residents as well as the E.F.S Men and Women’s Auxiliary members all in uniform. Life Membership and service medals were presented by Mr Kerr.
There had been a keen interest by members of the unit prior to this time and they took part in weekly foremanships and civil defence courses conducted at Bridgewater.
The old Blitz was becoming unsuitable for long trips fast, so the E.F.S asked the Council if they could send delegates to talk this over. As a result of the meeting it was decided that East Torrens District Council would donate a new International cab-chassis and the Committee were to get the body completed. This was mainly done by P.A. Wotton at a cost of $2.800. The Blitz was sold – which was later bought by the Council for $600 and was completed on 1971.
As the brigade could not fit in a date to have the international commissioned, it was decided to have it on a display in the parade of the Uraidla show.
The Norton Summit / Ashton E.F.S was registered as an incorporated body in October 1971 and Mr D Norton was elected chairman in the same year.