The FBEU Centenary, 2010

In October 1910, during the first year of the NSW Fire Brigades’ existence, firefighters got together and formed  the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union of New South Wales. A century later, the FBEU continues to weld together professional firefighters, making sure that we are heard by the Department and treated fairly. October 2010 marked the Centenary of the Union, the hundredth anniversary of our birth and of the start of the struggles that have made this job what it is today.

Over 1200 serving and retired firefighters took part in the march from Town Hall to Circular Quay, before attending the 100th Annual General Meeting of the Union and a Centenary Function, held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in The Rocks.

The Australian Army Band led the largest ever march of uniformed firefighters in Australia along George Street to The Rocks.

One of the proudest days of my life to be President of the oldest and most militant firefighting Union in the world.

FBEU President’s Speech to FBEU Centenary event, Thurs 21st October 2010

Comrades, Friends, and Guests – Welcome.

My name is Darin Sullivan, I’m the State President of the FBEU, and I’m a proud rank and file member of the FBEU today….

Officially this is the 100th Annual General Meeting of the FBEU – which this year takes the form of our Centenary event.

May I welcome all members of the FBEU, our families, our guests, current and former elected representatives, and a special welcome to our Life Members and retired members. Some of our guests include Minister for Emergency Services, Steve Whan, Shadow Emergency Services Minister Melinda Pavey, and Secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon. I welcome them, and other key guests and dignitaries.

A quick thought for one of our retired members who could not be here today. Rex Threlfo was both President of the FBEU and Chief Officer of the NSWFB. Rex is unwell at this time, and couldn’t make it here today. Our thoughts are with him and indeed all our retired members unable to make this event. Another apology of note, former FBEU State Secretary John Slade is travelling around Australia at present, and sends his apologies. We have received many apologies from members, and I thank them all for that, and it’s important that we mention and recognize our members who are on duty around NSW today, both perm and retained. These men and women are protecting NSW as we celebrate this afternoon, so we’ll keep them in mind as we celebrate on behalf of them, & all members.

Also, a special mention of those firefighters and FBEU members who have lost their lives in the line of duty over the last 100 years, may they rest in peace, they are not forgotten.

Friends and Comrades, well…what a day!…. today over 1000 firefighters marched as one through the streets of Sydney. We marched like we have on May Day for decades, we marched like we have in support of other Unions, for decades. We marched like we have for our own disputes- like rallies for fair wages and conditions, and disputes like our Death and Disability cover. We marched like we did in 2007 when the Federal Conservative Government dared to threaten our working lives, and that of our families and friends. Today we showed the collective strength of working class firefighters once again.

As firefighters, and FBEU members, we have always protected those around us, and always protected each other. The fact that we stand here today celebrating 100 years of just that, is testimony to our strength, to our principles, and our ability to stand as an effective, militant, and organised collective.

Friends, today I stand before you as the President of the oldest, proudest, and most militant firefighting Trade Union in the world. This is our day. This a day to celebrate the sacrifices made by the men and women who have fought for the wages, conditions, and safety that we defend today, we honor those Comrades, and we honor the trade union movement generally.

October 21, 2010, will be remembered as the day that NSW professional firefighters stood arm in arm, en-masse, sending a clear warning to those that dare to consider undermining our conditions, or endangering our communities, that they risk their own political professional existence, and must not underestimate the collective power of Unions, nor members of the FBEU. That day is today, and that message is clear. Comrades, enjoy this day, and celebrate our unity.

I now declare the 100th AGM of the FBEU open.

Thursday, 21st October 2010

Minutes of the 100th Annual General Meeting, 2010

The 2010 Annual General Meeting of the FBEU, being the 100th AGM of the Union, was held as part of the Centenary celebrations on 21 October 2010.

Minutes of the meeting, as adopted on the day, including the full text of the Secretary’s report, are now available online here.

Visit the FBEU Web Site for more info:

FBEU web site

Fire Brigade Employees’ Union / FBEU –

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