Mackay Aviation Rescue Fire Fighter is Airservices Australia’s ninth Australian Fire Service Medal recipient

articledefault

One of our longest serving Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) staff member recently celebrated his 49th working anniversary with the awarding of the Australian Fire Service Medal on Australia Day.

Nigel Burnell is one of nine known ARFFS members to receive this medal—awarded for his commitment to the service and dedication to training ARFFS staff.

Nigel’s connection to ARFFS however, commenced well before he came to work for us.

“I was an orphan boy at Oxley’s Blackheath Boys Home in Brisbane at the time of the Abel Tasman accident [1] and remember sitting on the floor of the dining room along with 100 boys aged from two to 15 years watching a news report that would have been a day old film considering those times,” said Nigel.

“Within six months, I was selected to go and live with the Burnells who owned and worked a sugar cane farm North of Sarina and had lost a child in the accident.”

“This arrangement was organised through the State Welfare Department as they were known at that time. I was always grateful to the Burnells—I was always treated as a son and had a full life with the family.”

“About 10 years after my adoption, I was fortunate to pick up a page from a newspaper advertising for an airport fireman. I applied for the position and was accepted as a local recruit. The rest as they say, is history,” Nigel added.

And with 49 years’ service, that history has been diverse.

Launceston Operations Manager David Groer ARFFS said: “During Nigel’s time with ARFFS, he has served at various locations including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Mt Isa, Proserpine, the Training College (Melbourne), Cairns and his current station of ARFFS Mackay.”

“Nigel has been a Training Officer since 1979 and has been committed to the development of firefighters through training and mentorship for the past 39 years. During this time, he delivered both core firefighting skills training and specialist aviation firefighting training courses, which includes the development of staff undertaking Certificate III through to Diploma training, both theory and practical.”

“Through this, Nigel has had a positive impact of a large proportion of current ARFFS staff in their development,” added David.

[1] The Abel Tasman Incident occurred on the 10th June 1960. A Fokker Friendship operated by Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) was on approach at night to land at Mackay when it crashed into the sea. All 29 people on board were killed. This incident remains as Australia’s worst civil air accident and was the instigator to the development of the ‘Black Box’.

Posted on: January 29, 2019

More News

Related topics

Airservices provides safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry.

Airservices Australia and Skykraft Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Airservices Australia and Skykraft Pty Limited have launched a new collaboration to share information and technical expertise as part of the development of Skykraft’s commercial space-based Air Traffic Management service. Skykraft is planning to conduct a Proof of Concept to explore and demonstrate the feasibility of space-based surveillance and communication technologies and its application in […]

SLEIGH RIDER ONE – Santa countdown begins!

With 15 sleeps left before Christmas, Airservices Australia has officially allocated Santa’s call sign—SLEIGH RIDER ONE—while also issuing a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to advise aircraft to keep clear of Santa as he delivers presents across Australia on Christmas Eve. With 2020 being a year like no other, Airservices and Santa have been working hard […]

EmbraerX and Airservices Australia release Concept of Operations for Urban Air Mobility

EmbraerX, Embraer’s disruptive business subsidiary, and Airservices, Australia’s civil air navigation service provider, have developed a new concept of operations (CONOPS) for the air taxi market, also known as urban air mobility (UAM). Going forward, Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions, the new EmbraerX spin-off, will be responsible for this partnership with Airservices and for the […]

Airservices joins effort to boost number of women fire fighters

Airservices Australia fire fighters are set to take part in workshops across NSW aimed at attracting young women to the profession. The workshops, hosted by the non-profit organisation Girls on Fire, will provide young women with a hands-on experience of fire fighting and emergency services skills. Airservices Sydney fire fighters Alison Walters and Kristin Alston […]