08 February 2016

The ACT Fire Fighter, Canberran of the Year 1985

The smoke was still heavy over Garema Place when every Fire Fighter in Canberra was awarded the Canberran of the Year medal on 12 March 1985.

The 1984/85 bushfire season in the ACT was the worst on record. There were extensive fires on Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, Mount Majura, Mount Taylor and Red Hill, and fires encroached on Holt, Tharwa and the Sundown Drive-in.By the end of the season 10,000 hectares of pasture and bushland in the ACT had been burned out and 7,000 head of stock had perished.

Those fighting the fires were drawn from every professional and volunteer organisation in the ACT, including units within government departments such as Parks and Conservation, CSIRO, the Royal Military College and the Defence Forces and many individuals. The ACT Fire Brigade was heavily involved on two fronts – while assisting with the bushfires, fires from gas leaks and other causes kept them busy in town, the most spectacular being a fire in the roof of the National Library that threatened to destroy both the building and its contents.

Further historical detail about the ACT Bushfire Council is available on our website, as is a history of the Canberra Citizen of the Year Award and a full list of awardees.

The 40th consecutive Canberra Citizen of the Year will be announced by the Chief Minister during Canberra Day Celebrations in March 2016.