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2024 Vehicle of the Year - The White Knight – The 1984 Centenary Vehicle of the NSWFB


Ahrens Fox and Centenary Vehicle outside of the Opera House, April 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Ahrens Fox and Centenary Vehicle outside of the Opera House, April 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]

This year for 2024 our Vehicle of the Year is the 1984 Centenary Vehicle, an International 1810C pumper more colloquially and favourably known as the ‘White Knight’. As the name suggests this fire engine was originally commissioned and installed in 1984 to celebrate the centenary of the Fire Brigade (known as the New South Wales Fire Brigade, NSWFB, now better known as Fire and Rescue NSW, FRNSW). This pumper stood out for one major reason, that being its colour! The White Knight as its more familiar name suggests was an all-white fire engine and was decorated with livery celebrating the 100 years of community service provided by the NSWFB. Along with its special colouring and livery the fire engine was also designated within the fleet as number 100.


The White Knight would have its official handing over of the key’s ceremony in April 1984, a ceremony which took place at City of Sydney Fire Station. The ceremony would progress with the White Knight officially departing from a fire station for the first time and make its way to the steps of the Sydney Opera House where it was paraded with a fleet of historic fire engines such as the 1929 Ahrens Fox PS2 (which can be seen on display at the Museum of Fire).


After its time of ceremony, the White Knight would journey around the state and be allocated to a variety of stations, the first being No. 4 Darlinghurst Station. During its time moving throughout NSW in 1984 it acted as a first response vehicle as well as being the designated vehicle to be used in any festivities relating to centenary celebrations of the brigade. Coincidentally the choice of the colour white for the vehicle was no accident and rather was a deliberate move by the brigade to not only make the centenary vehicle stand out amongst the other fire engines in the fleet but also to test the colour white as an alternative colour to use for fire engines. Ultimately, we would see white used more as an accent along with red in fire engines from the 1980s to 1990s when ultimately by the mid-2000s, the next colour shift would occur, that being a high visibility yellow instead of white.

Centenary Vehicle 'The White Knight' outside the Opera House for centenary celebrations with Harbour Bridge in background, April 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Centenary Vehicle 'The White Knight' outside the Opera House for centenary celebrations with Harbour Bridge in background, April 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]

The White Knight would then progress to be a part of the fleet of vehicles at the Training College in Alexandria. The fire engine was utilised for a variety of skills to test and train the new recruits such as for driver training and pump training. Unfortunately, during its tenure as a training appliance, the White Knight would succumb to two instances of rolling over, once in 1999 and again in 2003. Both incidents saw the vehicle be rebuilt. The engine would be decommissioned from the Brigade and enter private ownership from 2007 to 2023, being in the possession of several individuals before being acquired by the Museum of Fire.



The Museum chose this vehicle to be our Vehicle of the Year for a multitude of reasons, one being that this vehicle is turning 40 years old this year. It is also the 140-year celebrations for Fire and Rescue NSW and what better vehicle to highlight this year than the one that was created to celebrate the milestone of 100 years in 1984. Compared to our previous Vehicle of the Year’s, the White Knight is in a state which will not see it join our Museum’s displays until later. Instead, throughout the year the White Knight will be worked on and restored by our brilliant volunteers so that it may enter the Museum’s displays in 2025. So, to see the progress of our restoration efforts and to see exactly when the vehicle will be coming on display, you will need to be following the Museum of social media. You can click here to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.


-Blog by Curator, Ben Dickson

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