Third generation NSWFB firefighter swaps country for coast

Published: 14th May 2007

On 15 May, the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) crew from Port Macquarie Fire Brigade will welcome their newest member, firefighter Rob Donohoe.

Mr Donohoe is a third generation firefighter and his family have a long history in the community of Hay and with the Hay Fire Brigade.

Mr Donohoe’s transfer to Port Macquarie means that for the first time in 92 years, Hay Fire Brigade will not include a member of the Donohoe family.

The proud family tradition began in 1915 when Mr Donohoe’s grandfather, Robert William Donohoe, joined the Hay Fire Brigade. He served with the NSWFB for 20 years. Mr Donohoe’s father, Ernie, joined the NSWFB at the age of 16 and served 26 of his 50 years with the NSWFB as Captain before retiring in 1993.

In 1975, Mr Donohoe joined the NSWFB and had been with the Hay Fire Brigade for 32 years, 14 of which he served as Captain, before transferring to Port Macquarie.

But the family tradition doesn’t end there.

Mr Donohoe’s sons Scott and Tim as well as his uncles, Albert and Harold, also served with the NSWFB. Scott joined the NSWFB as a retained firefighter in 1995 before joining the NSWFB as a permanent firefighter in 1998. He is currently based in Sydney. Mr Donohoe’s youngest son, Tim, served two years with the Hay Fire Brigade before resigning when his trade took him away from Hay.

In total, eight members of the Donohoe family have been members of the NSWFB with Gregory Donohoe, a cousin to Robert William Donohoe, also a member of the Hay Fire Brigade.

Mr Donohoe said that while it was difficult to leave his hometown of Hay, he was looking forward to starting a new life in Port Macquarie.

“It was tough to leave Hay, but I am looking forward to getting to know the crew here and the Port Macquarie community. It is also an opportunity for my wife and I to be closer to our children who live in Port Macquarie and Sydney,” he said.

Superintendent David Gray said that both the Port Macquarie Fire Brigade and the community would benefit from Mr Donohoe’s arrival.
“Rob was the captain of Hay Fire Brigade for 14 years and has been a firefighter for 32 years. His knowledge and skills will be a great asset to the local brigade and the community,” he said.