Retained firefighter Collin Pardy hangs up his fireman's jacket one last time

RETIREMENT: Collin Pardy (fourth, left) has hung up his jacket for the last time at the Nyngan Fire and Rescue Station 406. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN
RETIREMENT: Collin Pardy (fourth, left) has hung up his jacket for the last time at the Nyngan Fire and Rescue Station 406. Photo: ZAARKACHA MARLAN

After 45 years, retained firefighter Collin Pardy has hung up his helmet for the last time at Fire and Rescue NSW station 406.

Mr Pardy joined the Nyngan brigade on June 15, 1974. He said the most important reasoning for signing up was to help the community.

"The fact you're able to be there to help the community, that's the important part of it," he said.

While Mr Pardy said he had seen many things in his firefighting career, some of the most memorable include the fire at Barrett's Hotel.

"In those days you had to leave somebody at the station because we didn't have radio communication like we've got now," he said.

"I was left at the station and had to answer calls. The word spread fairly quickly and the news and radio channels were ringing asking what was going on, and we also had to reflect messages from your local brigade and pass them on down the line.

Another memorable moment for Mr Pardy was the two house fires in Cobar and Oxley Streets during scorching temperatures in January 2018.

"We had only about 47 in the water bag and we had two house fires in the one afternoon, one after the other.

"When our crew go in with their breathing apparatus, they're kept an eye on by writing the time that they go in onto a sheet of plastic and they slide the tag from their breathing apparatus into.

"It was so hot that the chinagraph pencil that they used to write with wouldn't write it had melted.

"Then when they came out from doing their duty the ambulance took them into the ambulance and wrapped them with freezer packs around their necks ... to cool them down. That was a memorable one."

Since 1974, Mr Pardy said he had witnessed many changes.

"When I joined we had a fire engine which had a 12 cylinder Jaguar motor which was a pretty fancy truck, but communications have changed," he said.

"Now when there's a fire call you receive either a call to a beeper or your mobile phone ... which comes from either Sydney or Newcastle.

"Back then it was all local, a fire call went to the captains house, and he or the captain's wife flicked a switch on a special phone, turned a handle and that rang bells in all the fireman's houses and it also rang the siren on top of the station.

"If the wind was blowing the wrong way and if you weren't home you didn't hear the siren, you didn't get the call."

Mr Pardy said the uniform had changed from woollen tunics without hems to allow water to drip straight through, to synthetic insulated clothing to protect crews from the outside heat.

"Our helmets then were just a fibreglass miners helmet with a wider brim, now we've got microphones and lights ... your goggles and visor are also built into the helmet. So yeah things have changed a fair bit in 45 years."

Despite handing over his beeper at station 406, Mr Pardy said the crew at the moment were "excellent" and aware of what is needed.

"It's just been a pleasure and experience to be able to serve the community."

Nyngan Fire Captain Rob Avard said it was a "sad day" to see Mr Pardy retire, but thanked him for his service to the brigade.

"Col will be missed, he's been our right hand man for the last few years doing our fire reports and BA system and everything else, and he will definately be missed by all of us. It's a big shoe to fill," he said.