Ode to Friday: King


I’m involved in a great project about celebrating female firefighters. I’m interviewing the women and writing their stories for a booklet to be released on International Women’s Day.

In Australia, we take firefighting very seriously. Five years ago, on a day now called Black Saturday, 173 people died in Australia’s worst bushfire. Over a million acres of land was burnt; more than 2,000 homes were destroyed, and whole towns, razed to the ground. Most of the people fighting the fire that day were volunteers, as is the case in all bushfires in Australia. In the state of Victoria alone, there are 60,000 firefighting volunteers.

The women I’m interviewing are in that category. One woman, in her 70s, has been a firefighter for decades; her daughter is a firefighter and so too, her granddaughter. Another I’m interviewing is just 16 years old. They, and the people they work with, risk their lives to provide extraordinary service to others. Today’s ode is dedicated to these women, the women of the Country Fire Authority.


Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

~ Martin Luther King (American, 1929-1968)


Image: From Black Saturday; photographer: Jason South, courtesy The Age


13 thoughts on “Ode to Friday: King

    • Gerard, in our country we lack a way to speak about greatness in general. Consider Howard’s use of the term “mateship”. He thought it bought him something, and didn’t see or chose to overlook what it cost: that it alienates women and sets them outside. Consider Gillard’s use of the term “misogyny”. She thought it bought her something and didn’t see or chose to overlook what it cost: that is alienates men and set them outside.

      Chuck the word mateship, leadership, etc, and start talking about COURAGE, LOVE, SERVICE and everything changes. Suddenly, as MLK says, everybody is admitted. Everyone can serve. Everyone can contribute greatness. That’s the language I want to see used in Australia!!


  1. I’d never really thought much about this occupation or calling before…or women in this role …but your article… and the quote from Martin Luther King creates an entirely new context to view these efforts. You’ve put a human face on this story for me and a recognition of heroic efforts undertaken by the women of the Country Fire Authority.


    • Well said, Kim.

      I found out yesterday there are 8 women under the age of 25 who are Captains or Lieutenants of a firefighting brigade in this state. That means they lead the whole brigade into the fire. Can you imagine what it takes?

      Have a happy weekend, dear friend xxx


  2. I find it very inspirational to think of a women in her 70s fighting fires in Australia. The heat must be incredible. What stamina it must take, as well as physical strength and strength of character.


  3. What a powerful quote to honor women in service. It isn’t often we hear of women firefighters. More often than not, it’s associated with a man’s world. I know I associate it with a man’s world.

    I appreciate that you’re shining a light on these heroes, Narelle.


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