Tony Dodd - South West
Growing up in the Goldfield’s regional town of Norseman, Western Australia, Tony moved to Perth after high school to attend the University of Western Australia and the Nedlands Secondary Teachers College.
Tony’s father was a firefighter with the Norseman Volunteer Fire Brigade, and this sparked an interest in Tony from a young age.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s, the town had a huge interest in the firefighting competition games. Norseman Volunteer Fire Brigade was one of Western Australia’s top A Grade competitors and won seven A Grade State Championships during this time.
The brigade trained for the competitions on Sunday mornings and Tony used to watch them from over the swimming pool fence when he was at swimming club. From when Tony was 16 years old, he trained with the brigade during the Christmas school holidays, which kept him fit for when he returned to boarding school. This developed his interest further and he officially joined Bassendean Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in 1973.
As a Humanities and Social Sciences teacher, Tony and his young family moved around Western Australia. Tony transferred to the local VFRS at wherever he was based at the time, including Kambalda, Katanning, Harvey, South Kalgoorlie, and Mandurah. He has filled the shoes of Captain and Secretary during the years he has served as an active volunteer firefighter and has also been the Zone President for Goldfields and the Secretary for the South West Zone.
As an active firefighter he has attended numerous incidents and is still attending incidents today. “When I initially joined as a volunteer firefighter, it was for the competition aspect,” says Tony. “But as I started to participate in drills and other brigade activities, I became interested in this side as well and I have enjoyed this aspect as much as the competitions.”
There is no doubt Tony has a passion for sport, and in addition to fulfilling this role as an active firefighter, Tony is heavily involved in competing, coaching and the organisation of firefighting competitions.
He certainly did not think he would still be serving as a volunteer firefighter 50 years later. “There is an immense satisfaction that can be gained from helping out people and the community,” says Tony. “Added to this is the comradery that develops within brigades between members and the friendship and fun that occurs. Attending large protracted incidents adds to this and enhances the comradery and the sense of achievement.”
Tony has many highlights but the outstanding ones would be the many trips made to the firefighting competitions, Western Australia’s State Championships and to the Victorian Championships.
“All these trips have been fantastic and you meet and make friends with many different people from other brigades,” says Tony.
Still an active firefighter for Mandurah VFRS and, for over a decade, Tony has been a member of the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association Executive Committee as a South West Zone Representative. He nominated to join the Executive because he believed that, “With my experience across a number of brigades and zones and my knowledge, both operationally and in the firefighting competitions, I felt I could contribute to the enhancement of volunteer brigades and work to improve things operationally for them,” says Tony. Another contributing factor was that just prior to being elected he was appointed as Chairman of the Association’s Judges and Rules Committee. “This is a position that was easier to perform as an Executive Member,” Tony explains.
After 43 years of working in education, Tony retired as the Deputy Principal at Kelmscott Senior High School in 2018. Besides his dedication to volunteering, Tony enjoys spending time with his family, especially his young granddaughter.