Gisborne Fire Brigade’s first competition running reel, which was retired in the early 1990s, is being restored by the local Gisborne Men’s Shed.
The reel was bought in the early 1950s from Clunes Fire Brigade after its running team stopped competing. It was used by the Gisborne Fire Brigade ‘202’ running team in various state demonstrations, competitions and championships up until the early 1990s. It was then decided to build a new and improved lightweight version.
Since then the original reel has been stored away in the brigade’s shed at Sankey Reserve where the original Gisborne running track is located.
Bruce Harker, who is a 55-year veteren firefighter, brigade life member, CFA Honorary life member and ex-202 running team member, recalls the reel was originally made by a wheelwright in the Golden Square area.
“This particular reel was the one to have back in the day, because the manufacturer had a good reputation in coach building,” Bruce said.
“The quality was excellent and it clearly proved itself surviving nearly four decades operating in harsh conditions with the 202 team pushing it to its limits.”
The Gisborne Men’s Shed has kindly offered their labour free of charge to restore this piece of Gisborne history. When it is finished, it will have pride of place in the fire station engine bay surrounded by historic photos of it being used.