At about 4:00am on Wednesday 14th October 1896, a fire originated in the stables at the rear of what is now called Devon Lodge situated on the corner of High Street and Anslow Street, Woodend.
The following Wednesday 21st October 1896 a group of about a dozen gentlemen met to consider the “desirability of forming a fire brigade in Woodend”. It was moved that a brigade be formed, to consist of 15 members and named the Woodend Fire Brigade. This motion was unanimously carried and the election of officers followed. The meeting decided to write to the Newham Shire and ask that they erect a depot and fire bell somewhere in the centre of town and place it’s own reel, hose and other appliances at the brigade’s disposal.
The following month, on Monday 21st November, members of the brigade again met, the brigade received a letter from the shire secretary which stated that the shire granted use of it’s fire appliances but that the erection of a depot and fire bell had been referred to the council’s Woodend riding members.
A list of required equipment included a new reel, cost £18, 500ft of 21/2” hose, at £11, along with couplings, branch etc., the total being around £32. The purchase of a bell, which would cost £10, was considered optional at the time.
It is interesting to note that a present day Tanker costs around $350,000.00
A more detailed history can be found in “The History of the Woodend Fire Brigade 1896 – 1996”.