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Championships - Introduction and History

Upcoming State Championships

The 2024 State Championships will all be held in Mooroopna over consecutive weekends in March for the fourth year in a row.

The weekend 16 and 17 March will host the State Urban Junior Championship. The following weekend, 23 and 24 March, will see the State Urban Senior Championship run over both days. While the State Rural Senior Championship will be run on Saturday 25 March and the State Rural Junior Championship on Sunday 26 March. The events for each championship will be conducted separately on their own competition tracks, but alongside each other at the same location, on the same weekend, in what is a showcase of CFA to the wider community.

On the evening of Saturday 23 March, the Torchlight Procession will be held. The procession will begin at 8:30pm on the Saturday night.     


VFBV State Championship History and Introduction

VFBV State Championships are one of Victoria's proudest and longest traditions, running for nearly 150 years with the first State Championship held in Melbourne in 1873, with the volunteer associations running and organising these events some 70 years before CFA even existed.  State Championships have continued annually since 1873 with no state event cancelled due to fire, flood, weather or natural disaster – the only cancellations being due to WW1, WWII and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The establishment of volunteer fire brigades in country Victoria began in 1854 with brigades formally established at Geelong and Sandhurst (now Bendigo). The introduction of hose reels into the Fire Service to assist in getting hose and other necessary equipment to the scene of a fire relatively quickly, was a major catalyst for fire brigade competitions, as we know them. 

The Championships, initially known as ‘Demonstrations’ as they were viewed as a demonstration of firefighting skills, arose from an awareness that fire brigade operational response and training could be enhanced if it was performed in a competitive environment. Brigades soon discovered their training and efficiency improved by engaging in training and competitions with neighbouring brigades, with the State Championship evolving as the pinnacle of the season’s competitions conducted by Districts and Associations across the state.

After the first two Championships were held in Melbourne 1873 and 1874, and given the vast distance many country and regional Brigades travelled to attend the Melbourne events, it was agreed that other venues should have the opportunity of hosting future Championships. This was also seen as a way to fairly distribute the economic benefits of increased tourism and patronage in townships as a result of each year’s competitions, and honoured volunteer firefighters dedication to putting their communities first.

Today, competitions and the State Championships remain an integral part of CFA activities, attracting every year volunteer and career firefighters from across the state and interstate, competing against each other in a range of events designed to hone their firefighting skills and put their skills to the test in a demonstration of their unique life and property saving skills.  Speed and accuracy are vital as the firefighters compete in events using a range of traditional and modern-day firefighting equipment. 

Since 1873 - VFBV (and its predecessor associations) coordinate and arrange all Fire Brigade championships and competitions in Victoria, and selects the venues, approves the events and rules of the competitions, and appoints/supports all track officials and judges for the Championships. Under the CFA Act, we must seek the approval of CFA for each year’s events held within the country area of Victoria. CFA support the running of these Championships through the provision of annual grants to contribute to the running costs of hosting each year’s events, as well as reimbursing competitors for travel expenses to attend the State Championship – in recognition that many Brigades are required to travel hundreds of kilometres to attend each years State Championships.


State Championships allow volunteer firefighters to test their skills and prowess against opposing Brigades in a congenial atmosphere and provides an opportunity to strengthen existing friendships and form new bonds with Brigade members throughout Victoria and interstate.  Unlike a real bushfire or structural fire situation, which often pits firefighters against mother nature and where lives and property are at risk, these drill competitions are more firefighter versus firefighter, and Brigade versus Brigade, which allows for a more friendly opponent than mother nature.

The urban championships in the main involve traditional events and many still include the use of the reel as was the case in the early 1900s.

On the other hand the events at the rural championships which evolved in the 1950's are based around more current fire ground practices and most use either tankers or replica tanker stands for most of their events. Earlier rural championships held competitions such as rope climbs and knapsack races which have now been discontinued in favour of more tanker based activities.

The benefits and objectives of our competitions and State Championships are to:

  1. increased operational firefighting efficiency and discipline

  2. develop, maintain and enhance the operational skills of firefighters by providing a competitive environment to promote and hone training and skills maintenance in core and fundamental firefighting skills and practices

  3. develop teamwork and leadership skills of individuals and Brigades

  4. increased health and fitness development and promotion of healthy lifestyle and its correlation to increased firefighting efficiency and effectiveness

  5. promote comradeship amongst firefighters, sense of belonging and networking

  6. encourage family participation and strengthen community engagement and involvement in local Fire Brigade’s

  7. encourage our future CFA volunteer firefighters and provide early exposure to young people to instil a sense of community service and the importance of local Fire Brigade’s

  8. promote a professional image of CFA to the community

  9. instil and promote the Australian tradition of having a go, and doing your best

  10. promote and recognise our future CFA, Brigade and VFBV leaders and celebrate excellence






Read 22361 times Last modified on Monday, 15 January 2024 15:59
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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.


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