A lot was happening 65 years ago.
The Korean War was coming to an end, the U.S had just developed the polio vaccine, and Australia saw the births of icons such as footballer Michael Tuck, singer Renee Geyer, and the original purple wiggle Jeff Fatt.
However, in Ballarat, Stan Kneeshaw was beginning his long career as a volunteer firefighter.
Sitting in the back room of his home, surrounded by firefighting memorabilia, Mr Kneeshaw shared his story of longevity.
“I got into firefighting because there was a chap four doors up from me who was a firefighter,” said Mr Kneeshaw.
“Every time we would hear the bell go, we would rush up the street and follow him on our push bikes.”
Mr Kneeshaw’s affinity for his pushbike would come in handy, with it being one of his primary modes of transport when he was firefighting.
“When I started, one bloke had a ute, another had a car, two had motorbikes, and the rest of us would ride our pushbikes to the fires.”
When comparing what Mr Kneeshaw and his fellow firefighters had to work with, compared to modern firefighters, you might think they were crazy to ever go out to some fires.
“There was no gear, we had to supply our own boots, trousers, if you were lucky you got a jacket.
“We did have helmets, so there was some protection.” laughed Mr Kneeshaw.
“I look at what they’ve got now and it’s amazing, with their big overalls and protective suits.
“When you look at the trucks now, they’re incredible, you don’t have to hook up to a fire hydrant like we did, they can just go anywhere, and fight any fire.
“It’s a far cry from our little trucks with wooden trays, can you imagine that?”
Stan was recently awarded his 65 year medal at Ballarat Fire Brigade’s recent award night.
Over those years, Stan did just about everything there was to do within the fire brigade.
Not one for attention or accolades, Mr Kneeshaw’s wife Ruth spoke about his achievement.
“It was wonderful to see Stan recognised with his award, and to have the time he’s put in recognised.” Mrs Kneeshaw said.
Stan, who concluded active firefighting in 2009 at the age on 76, will forever be a part of the Ballarat Fire Brigade history.
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