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Australia Day medal for longest serving fire officer

Published: 26th January 2014

With 52 years of dedicated service to Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) and the title of NSW’s longest serving professional firefighter, Mosman Fire Station commander Bill King has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal – one of the highest honours an Australian firefighter can receive.

Station Officer King was one of three FRNSW recipients of the prestigious award announced on Australia Day. FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins congratulated Station Officer King, from Elanora Heights, on his award.

“Station Officer King has seen huge changes during his times as a firefighter, and has earned a reputation as an outstanding and highly ethical fire officer and community member.

“In the past few years Bill has become an ambassador for Seniors Week, actively encouraging older people to stay active and to adopt good fire safety behaviours.”

Station Officer King has fought many major fires in his five decades as a firefighter. He became a firefighter in 1962, before fire trucks had enclosed cabins. Firefighters were seated on the back of fire trucks and had to hold on. These include major bushfires in 1968, 1979 and 1994, and more recently, he was the first arriving fire officer at the petrol tanker crash and explosion at Mona Vale.

His team at Mosman have nothing but respect for their Station Officer and his guidance as a leader and mentor. At 74, Station Officer King’s fitness is legendary and he has been around the world to compete in indoor rowing and other sporting events.

“Station Officer King continues to represent FRNSW at international sporting competitions including indoor rowing, and trains on a daily basis,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“He has won several mature-aged titles, including four gold medals for indoor rowing at the last Pan Pacific Masters Games and last year he travelled to Belfast, Ireland for the World Police and Fire Games. He exemplifies the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle, particularly in a job that is as physically demanding as firefighting.

“Station Officer King has been a role model for generations of firefighters, including me, as he was my Station Officer at Crows Nest in the early 1980s – he is the epitome of why firefighters are the most trusted profession.”

Station Officer King will be presented with his AFSM in a ceremony later in the year.