Press release: Australian Firefighters Calendar
Since its launch 30 years ago, the Australian Firefighters Calendar has donated millions of dollars to Australian charities and has become the world’s most popular calendar. Funds from calendar sales over the last three decades have supported medical research into sourcing better methods to treat severe burns in children. The calendar also has a proud history of supporting animal refuges and Australian Wildlife in the past and that will continue into the future.
Taking into account the extraordinary difference that calendar and the firefighters have made, we feel it is also important to get to know some of the real-life heroes who take part in the world’s most iconic calendar.
DENNIS FAY: One of those firefighters is Dennis Fay, a proud indigenous Torres Strait islander. Born on the tiny island of Badu (located between Australia and New Guinea), Dennis is a returned military veteran who was also a world ranked Muay Thai fighter. Along with his full-time job as an Aviation Firefighter, Dennis is now also fighting for another cause, something more important than anything he could achieve in the ring… the preservation of marine life surrounding Badu.
To assist in the sustainability of the ocean vital to his people’s way of life, Dennis is doing his utmost to keep the waters surrounding Badu free of discarded plastic. Badu’s once pristine oceans and beaches have become littered with harmful plastic and this plastic is devastating the local marine life. Working with locals, Dennis is ingeniously helping his community by recycling the discarded plastic and transforming it into diving flippers. This initiative is proving to be a huge opportunity for his community, providing vital jobs and also helping to keep the waters of Badu clean.
“Our hope is that by promoting authentic indigenous artists on our flippers that we can share our connection to nature with the world. Our aim is to repurpose something that was harmful to our environment into a product we can use back in the ocean to support the community. I have aligned our work with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals program (SDG), which is of particular importance to our island and the UN’s Responsible Consumption and Production and Life Below Water initiatives. These programs are going to be very important in transforming our part of the world and providing a better way of life for my community,” said Dennis Fay, Aviation firefighter.
BRENDEN PURVIS: Another calendar firefighter that has served his community for many years is Brenden Purvis. Every long hot summer, unsung Australian heroes give up their time and tragically sometimes their lives to keep our rural areas safe during these unforgiving months. Before Brenden became a Royal Australian Airforce firefighter, he was a member of his local Rural Fire Brigade (RFS) from the age of 16.
“Serving in the Rural Fire Brigade with my community members inspired me to serve my country further. When I was old enough, I enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force. Before I left for my first deployment overseas, I was also able to convince my Mum to get involved in the Wamuran Rural Fire Brigade organisation too. Mum is still a serving member of the Rural Fire Brigade, far exceeding the number of years I was there. Mum’s involvement in serving our community fills me with immense pride,” said Brenden Purvis, Royal Australian Airforce firefighter.
BEN WALLACE: Before joining Fire Rescue Victoria, Ben Wallace had a distinguished career in the Australian Army. Deployed for 3 active tours of Iraq and 1 tour of Afghanistan, Ben’s work in these war-torn countries changed the lives of countless families desperate for peace and safety.
“In Afghanistan I was deployed with the Australian Army Reconstruction Task Force. Our job was to build schools for young Afghani girls, my role was to protect the members of our task force and the Afghani girls from the Taliban. The schools we provided made it possible for these young girls to be educated, which in turn, provided better opportunities for them and their families,” said Ben Wallace, Fire Rescue Victoria firefighter.
RICKY SMITH: A hero of a different kind, Ricky Smith served his community as a Surf Lifesaver for 23 years before joining the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES). Australia is known around the world for its beautiful beaches and keeping our beach goers safe are our equally famous Australian Surf Lifesavers. Joining his first surf club as an 8-year-old, Ricky finished his surf lifesaving career as a professional surf lifesaver, rescuing swimmers from Australia’s unpredictable and sometimes treacherous oceans every summer.
“The most rewarding part of being a surf lifesaver was rescuing people from a potentially life-threatening event and that’s why I wanted to continue serving the community by joining the fire service. For the past 6 years I have been able to continue helping people when they are at their most vulnerable,” said Ricky Smith, QFES firefighter.
MATT ROSS: Studying finance and commerce through school and University, Matt Ross was headed for a life in high finance working for one of Australia’s biggest banks. After achieving his original goal of working in his chosen field he found that something was missing in his life. Matt wanted to seek a career in something more community based. Matt threw in his high paying job to embark on the challenge of becoming a firefighter.
“Although the selection process for the fire service was long and extremely competitive, it was well worth the effort. In the fire service I have found a more community focused and fulfilling career. Due to the serious nature of firefighting, I found it necessary to increase my overall fitness level to keep up with the rigours of the job,” said Matt Ross, Fire Rescue Victoria firefighter.
To help celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Australian Firefighters Calendar, 6 calendar firefighters were invited to LA to appear on the Kelly Clarkson Show in October. The firefighters also appeared in a series of segments on NBC’s popular ACCESS Hollywood and CBS’s Entertainment Tonight and FOX’s Good Morning LA.
“We were so excited to appear on The Kelly Clarkson Show because it’s the biggest talk show in the US. The producers contacted us to see if the firefighters would be available to appear on the show, the firefighters could not pack their bags fast enough! It is a great tribute to the work they do to be asked to appear on such a popular TV show,” explained Sherryn Hollioake, creative director of the Australian Firefighters Calendar.
“After 3 years of not being able to travel it was fantastic to be appearing back on a live US TV show again. The last time we visited the U.S., we appeared on the Steve Harvey Show, the Doctors and the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda. We were really looking forward to connecting with our U.S. fans again,” added Crystal Doohan, media coordinator for the Australian Firefighters Calendar.
“As the world has opened up after the travel restrictions the firefighters have been asked to help rebuild Australia’s tourism industry. China Airlines have asked the firefighters to represent them in promoting Australia at the upcoming Taipei International Travel Show. The last time we attended this event pre-covid we helped sell 3,000 trips to Australia,” said David Rogers, director of Australia Firefighters Calendar.
All the most popular editions are back, the new edition for our 30 years anniversary is the all-new denim edition. Last year the firefighters wanted to spice things up by producing a summer calendar. This year the firefighters have decided to wear denim jeans and the images are sizzling hot.
All the regular fan favourites are back, including Australia’s hottest firefighters in the classic calendar. The dog calendar features the firefighters with rescue dogs from Safe Haven Animal Rescue and All Breeds Canine rescue. The horse calendar features therapy horses from Healing Hooves. All the cats for this year’s cat calendar were rescues from Best Friends Felines. Our hope is the images from this year’s calendars will inspire the public to adopt a pet from one of these vital organisations.
The most popular edition is always the mixed animal calendar. Australia’s most recognizable animal, the Koala features every year on the cover. Since this edition was created five years ago it is the cover that all the firefighters want to feature on. This calendar is always coveted by international fans and media outlets around the globe.
To repay the support our U.S. fans have shown, the Australian Firefighters Calendar will continue to support U.S. charities for the second year in row.
Rescue Rebuild, a shelter renovation program of Greater Good Charities, recruits’ volunteers from across the U.S. to renovate animal shelters, domestic violence shelters, veterans housing and homeless shelters. The Rescue Rebuild team has completed 175 renovations that have helped more than 3,200 people and more than 720,000 pets.
“We are thrilled to be the recipients of sales for the Australian Firefighters Calendar for two consecutive years, the calendar funds will directly help support our Rescue Rebuild renovation at the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island to allow the clinic to take in more animals every year and help reduce the stress for the wildlife and the staff,” said Liz Baker, CEO of Greater Good.