IT was the fire at the Flying Buck Hotel in Liebig Street that did it.
The fire on the morning of Sunday, March 1, 1863, burnt the hotel's stables and other buildings at the rear of the hotel and threatened to destroy not only one of Warrnambool's watering holes but adjacent buildings.
After several earlier attempts had been made to form a fire brigade in the pioneering settlement that Warrnambool was in the late 19th century, the fire at the Flying Buck prompted decisive action.
On Friday, March 6, 1863, a public meeting was held that decided to form a Warrnambool volunteer fire brigade with 25 volunteers.
That public meeting to begin the brigade's 150 years of serving Warrnambool will be celebrated tonight (Wed, March 6) with another public meeting at the Whalers Hotel, starting at 7.30pm.
Tonight's public meeting is one of a number of events this year to celebrate the brigade's 150th anniversary this year.
The brigade's anniversary celebrations project manager, David Ferguson, said up to 100 people were expected to attend tonight's meeting.
The venue for the meeting, the Whalers Hotel, is only across the road from where the Flying Buck Hotel was located.
Brigade members will be in full-dress uniform at tonight's meeting that will include a reading of the minutes of the 1863 meeting that led to formation of the brigade.
The brigade's secretary Bryan Wills will give an account of the brigade's history and its senior volunteer officer Wayne Rooke will talk about its present activities.
Mr Ferguson said tonight's meeting would show the brigade was still responding to Warrnambool's needs.
"We go to about 600 calls a year and do a wide range of community activities such as visiting kindergartens to talk to children about fire safety."
The brigade is a mix of paid and volunteer firemen and its recent callouts have included those to the Minhamite fire on Monday and to the Victoria Valley complex fire in the Grampians last month.
At the Grampians fire, Warrnambool brigade members not only did fire fighting, but management of the staging area where the fire fight was organised and other coordination roles.
Mr Ferguson said paid firefighters joined the brigade in 1961 because of the growing demands on the brigade.
It presently comprises 17 staff and 50 volunteers, who have a variety of roles and responsibilities.
Other celebrations to mark the brigade's 150th are an exhibition of brigade memorabilia at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
The brigade's exhibition will be on display until March 17.
An anniversary dinner is also planned for May and a book on the brigade's history is being compiled.
The anniversary will also be marked when the brigade is given the honour of marching behind the CFA's chief officer Ewan Ferguson in this Saturday night's torchlight procession of brigades for the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) Urban Championships in Warrnambool this weekend.
The torchlight procession will start at 8.30pm on Saturday night from the southern end of Parkers car park and proceed onto Koroit Street, north along Liebig Street to the Lava Street intersection, west along Lava Street and south into Kepler, then east along Koroit Street to Liebig Street and south to the Civic Green.
The Warrnambool Art Gallery will also be open this Saturday evening about 8pm for people to see the brigade's exhibition.