The late Ron Holder, who sadly passed away in September last year, was recognised for his outstanding and dedicated career with the Cootamundra Fire Brigade earlier this month.
Ron passed away on August 4th last year, at the age of 86. The Holder family, along with the crew from the Cootamundra Fire and Rescue 266, earlier this month acknowledged Ron’s significant contribution to the brigade across his career, donating his medals and memorabilia to the Fire Station to display going forward.
Keith donated a glass picture frame with medals, including the Queen’s medal, and old newspaper clippings about his family to keep at the station for show.
The Fire and Rescue NSW Station 266 Cootamundra crew posted a heartfelt message on their Facebook page, dedicated to the Holder family.
“The Holder family, this is one family name that will forever be etched in the history of the Cootamundra Fire brigade. Between Earnie, Fred, Frank, Ron, Terry, Keith and Colin there was over 130 years of service to the Cootamundra community. With both Fred and Frank taking on the position of Captain,” the post read.
“From January 1926 when Fred joined to October 1998 when Ron retired there was at least one member of the Holder family serving their community. In around 1970, five serving all at the same time.
“The Holder family kindly donated the medals from Fred’s service to the station for display along with other memorabilia that will be also displayed for all to see.
“We are proud of our history, and this family has definitely helped the Cootamundra Fire brigade become what it is today!
“On behalf of the past and current members of the Cootamundra Fire Brigade and the wider community, we thank you all for your dedicated service.”
Keith Holder, Ron’s younger brother, spoke to The Times about his family’s long involvement with the Cootamundra Fire Brigade.
“My third line of cousins started in the Cootamundra Fire Brigade in the 1920’s. My father’s brother was one of the first ones to go into the fire station. I think my father was the second one to come in,” Keith said.
“His brother Frank then came in. My father was the captain for a period of time after he joined. “Ron got involved in the Fire Brigade by following in the family footsteps. It was a volunteer Fire Brigade at that stage.”
Besides his passion for the Fire Brigade, Ron had various other passions in life. Ron was a pastry chef, completing an apprenticeship in his earlier years, staying in the bakehouse in Parker Street.
From there, Ron became a self-taught farm machine machinic, staying there for a number of years.
Ron then moved to Yeoman Motors to do repair and restoration work on farm machinery. Keith also recalled some of Ron’s other interests in his free time.
“He liked to travel a fair bit. In his earlier days, he was quite taken up with motorbikes. He used to fix AJS motorbikes and ride them. He used to go on different road trips with some of his mates for a while.
“He had a fascination with stationary engines. He was a self-taught mechanic and engines were his hobby.
He got these old gold stationary engines and fixed them up and got them going. He used to take them around to different shows. He then got involved with miniature railways and loved that.”
Ron was the eldest sibling in the Holder family, his sister Loraine, and Keith was the youngest in the family. Frederick Charlies Holder and Katherine Edith Holder were the parents of the children.
“Ron married his first wife named Laurel, they separated but had two kids, Debbie and Tony. He then married again, to Mary, who he remained with until she passed away.”