In September 2018, Trudy Walker, along with Donna Wheatley, became the first female Commander in MFB history. Joining MFB when she was 40 years old, after an established career as a Detective Senior Constable with the Australian Federal Police and raising three children, Trudy was ready for a new challenge.
She remembers hearing an MFB advertisement for firefighters on the radio and thinking it sounded like an exciting opportunity. After successfully passing the application process, Trudy found herself on a course six months later. As she recalls:
I went in as a 40-year-old, which I didn’t think was going to be a problem at all as there were a lot of different ages on the course.
Trudy was one of two women in the course, the other being 20-year-old Rachel Cowling.
During her 14-year career Trudy worked hard and gravitated towards leadership roles. ‘Rising through the ranks was a very exciting time for me’, she reflects. ‘I felt really comfortable doing that because I knew I had the skills and I had some good people supporting me.’ And for Trudy, one of the best things about being a firefighter and being part of MFB, are the people.
They’re an amazing bunch of eclectic people who have something individual to offer. We all work as a team, have different strengths, different weaknesses, we get on with the job, working for the community at every call.
Trudy, like many MFB firefighters, describes the organisation as ‘like a family’.
In 2018, this became a reality when her son, Guy Walker, graduated as a new recruit.
I’m very proud and it’s very exciting … it makes you feel really special as a firefighter and as a mum. There are not many mums with kids in the job.