After five years as captain of the Bawley Point Rural Fire Brigade Charlie Magnuson is handing over the reins.
Charlie moved to Bawley Point 13 years ago and as with many small towns, it wasn't long before he was asked to join the local brigade. That was 10 years ago and he's made more friends and connections through the brigade then he ever imagined.
While he and wife Linda have recently downsized from their large acre property to a home in Mollymook, he said the Bawley community will always remain close to his heart.
"As a member I've enjoyed the comradeship of the men and women and made so many great friends," Charlie said.
"I was so lucky to be the captain and have the support of the community and the brigade. Without that you haven't got much."
Now in his 60s, Charlie's looking forward to a bit of free time and relaxation. As the RFS moves forward and becomes a recognised training organisation, Charlie said the administration involved in the captain's role has increased significantly over the years.
While he fully supports the increasing professionalism of the organisation, he's also keen to pass on the duties to someone who has his full backing.
"Hendrik Boone is the new captain and he will do a fantastic job," Charlie said.
"He's been with the brigade for a considerable amount of time and performed amazingly during the Black Summer fires."
Charlie said the brigade's future is looking bright. Membership has jumped from 29 to 53 since the Black Summer fires and there's plenty of youth and enthusiasm on board, with the youngest member just 16.
Typically, after a major fire, membership increases for RFS brigades but often drops off six months down the track. Bawley Point brigade has held steady however and now has 23 women on board - something Charlie is very proud of.
"Females add another dimension that's so important, they're as strong and resilient as any guy as to have women as almost 50 per cent of the brigade is a testament to their strength and abilities," he said.
"There's women who fought in the Black Summer fires who I'd put my life in their hands."
While there's been many big fires and will be again, the Black Summer fires will forever be etched in our memories.
The brigade battled the fire for seven weeks and incredibly, no homes or lives were lost in Bawley Point.
"I was also Divisional Commander at that time which I was a little apprehensive about but to be able to serve and protect the community and come out with that positive outcome is definitely a proud moment for me," Charlie said.
"It was certainly the most challenging time in a long time for the brigade. Seven weeks is harder on your body, harder on your pocket and harder on your mind."
Charlie also acknowledged the families supporting the brigade for their sacrifices during the Black Summer fires. With crews away from home for days on end, their contribution is not forgotten.
Charlie will officially leave the brigade on June 30, but was celebrated by the crew at the AGM on May 7.
While he's free to kick back with a cuppa now whenever he likes, he can relax in the knowledge things are looking good for the Bawley Point community.
"The brigade is in a very good position, they're strong, keen and resilient and they've done that all themselves. It's a real testament to the members," Charlie said.