Some of the old Willys trucks are still on standby and may have been pressed into service for the February 2009 fires. This picture shows a 1955 Willys L6 truck owned by John Keane. Formerly with the Country Fire Brigade in Ballarat, Victoria, this truck was purchased by John in 1977, with only 13,000 miles on the clock. See a large copy (120K JPEG) of the composite picture created for The CJ3B Page with a bushfire photo from the CFA as a background.
This example of the distinctive and practical Willys fire truck design used by the CFA in the state of Victoria, is proudly lettered for the village of Yellingbo, which Mike Kelly tells us is about 30 miles east of Melbourne.
See also another Yellingbo unit (70K JPEG) pulling a pump trailer. The photos were found by Wayne Ellard.
This postcard, No. 2 in a series of "Historic Fire Fighting Vehicles" from the CFA, shows their "Willys Jeep Type 14 Tanker".
The Fire Services Museum in East Melbourne has a 1957 tanker on permanent loan from the CFA -- see a photo (30K JPEG). It carries a 200-gallon water tank with rear-mounted petrol-powered pump, and is actually on the CFA reserve list and can be called back into service.
A 1973 brochure produced by the CFA includes photos of Jeep trucks in action against fires in the 1960's. The brochure describes the dramatic and successful battle against bushfires by volunteer fire fighters.
See another photo showing a Willys truck and a larger tanker in the grasslands, and a photo showing the mobilization of resources to fight a fire in Benalla in 1968 (15K JPEGs).
Here's another example of a fire-service vehicle built on a Willys chassis, and custom-designed for local needs and standards. This 6-226 fire unit is from the small Australian town of Muttaburra. Like the Swedish Hose Car, this Australian design owes little to the Willys Commando fire truck (100K JPEG) other than the cab, chassis and 6-226 engine.
The rear-mounted pump, central stowage for the hard suction hose (see rear photo below), and overhead ladder rack, result in a body with very clean lines, and storage compartments for lots of small gear.
Vaughn Becker, who sent these photos, provides this background on the truck: "The Queensland Government supplied a number of these units to small rural towns in the late 1950's and early 60's. The trucks left the Willys Brisbane factory as cab/chassis and were converted in Brisbane prior to being put into service throughout the state."
This fire engine has a similar body (30K JPEG) but with a front-mounted pump. Wayne Ellard found these photos but doesn't have any information on the truck -- anybody know where this was taken?
Thanks to Ted Robinette for the CFA photos and Ross Brealey for the postcard. -- Derek Redmond
See an FC-170 of the Sutherland Bushfire Service, and the Presha FC-170 Light Rescue Tender, in Jeep FC Fire Engines Around the World.
See also CFA testing of a later "Type 1.4" prototype truck based on the Kaiser Jeep Gladiator chassis.
Return to Fire Service Jeeps on The CJ3B Page.
See more Jeeps in Australia.
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