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A Mammoth Month at the Museum of Fire

Throughout the month of May the Museum team has been kept very busy with lots of events and more projects throughout the Museum to update several exhibitions and displays. We also opened our temporary exhibit “The Longest Serving Regional Brigades in NSW”, which you may have seen if you visited the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) display at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

 

This year marks 140 years since the creation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), which today is known as Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW). Prior to this there were fire brigades in Sydney, however they were operated independently by various businesses or local communities. The establishment of the 1884 Fire brigades Act created one firefighting body for Sydney.



Across the rest of NSW there were many towns that had established their own fire brigades prior to 1884. The Museum of Fire is currently hosting an exhibition that features the five oldest, still-operating, brigades in NSW; as well as the oldest still-in use fire station outside of Sydney.


The oldest brigade showcased is Goulburn, which was first established in 1855. Not only was this the first fire brigade established outside of Sydney, but it was just the third formerly organised and recognised brigade in the colony after the Insurance Company Fire Brigade and No. 1 Volunteer Company; both located within Sydney.


One of the brigades featured in the exhibition is Windsor, which was established in 1863. Notably, the 1874 fire that destroyed over 30 acres of land, 53 buildings and 36 homes in Windsor was the catalyst for many other towns to ensure they had their own active fire brigades. For this reason, in the years following the fire there is a rapid growth in the number of fire brigades across NSW. It was understood that if it wasn’t for the local Windsor brigade the damage, and possibly death toll would have been much higher.


To learn more and see what brigades are showcased, be sure to visit the exhibit before it closes on Sunday 18 August.



The largest (and wettest) event of May was when the Museum hosted Fire and Rescue NSW’s (FRNSW) Open Day at the Museum. While the Museum has hosted Open Day events in the past this was only the second time that the Museum acted as a central hub for Open Day activities, and this was the first time that the Museum was able to showcase so many aspects of the skills FRNSW have to offer the community.


From the aviation exhibit to the K-9 demos there was a lot for visitors to explore; and even the continuous rain could not keep visitors away from our special guests Marshall and Chase from PAWPatrol!

Winning "Cool Aunty" points because I know PAW Patrols Marshall!
Winning "Cool Aunty" points because I know PAW Patrols Marshall!

Just one week later (thankfully with sunnier skies) our team dried themselves out and hosted the MEGA Cars & Coffee event which attracted over 350 cars.

Cars & Coffee Event at the Museum of Fire
Cars & Coffee Event at the Museum of Fire

This year marks 30 years since the establishment of FRNSW’s Community Fire Unit’s (CFU). In May the Museum hosted Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell and representatives of CFU for a morning tea and to acknowledge the history of CFU.


The 1994 bushfires were the catalyst for Terry Munsey of the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB, now Fire and Rescue NSW; FRNSW) to upgrade former hose posts to Community Fire Units (CFUs) under the Bushfire/Rescue section of NSWFB so people could adequately protect their own homes as well as their neighbours. The concept of CFUs had been around since the end of World War II when hose posts were installed for first aid protection in bushfire prone areas, and it was many of these former hose posts that were upgraded to CFUs.


To read more about CFU check out the Museum’s blog CLICK HERE

Members of the MFU with Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell at the Museum of Fire
Members of the MFU with Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell at the Museum of Fire

Another FRNSW celebration we attended this month was the official opening of the newly renovated Alexandria Fire Station. For the event the Museum produced a colour history book as well as a framed history of the brigade who has served the community since 1877.


To help celebrate the event we even brought along a 1971 Dennis F44 which is the sister fire engine to Alexandria's F44 and was in service when the fire station first opened in 1975. To read more about the History of Alexandria Fire Brigade CLICK HERE

Presenting Alexandria with their framed history of the brigade
Presenting Alexandria with their framed history of the brigade

A highlight of the month was a visit from Junior Firefighter Liam who visited the Museum to present our team with two fundraising helmets! We are very excited to have received these & to have had a visit from Liam!


When you visit the Museum keep an eye out for the helmets! As a not for profit & registered charity, the Museum relies on donations, so these helmets will hopefully help us continue to fundraise each day!



Speaking of donations, it is that time of year again when we ask you to consider making an End-Of-Financial-Year (EOFY) Donation. As a registered charity all donations to the Museum over $2 are tax deductible. Your donations go towards all of the Museum’s heritage works and restorations. CLICK HERE to donate if you would like to. This year our volunteers are working hard to prepare our vehicle of the year the “White Knight” to be ready for display next year. The 1810C International was commissioned and installed in 1984 to be part of the centenary celebrations of the NSW Fire Brigade (today FRNSW). To read more about the vehicle and our other heritage projects CLICK HERE


 

Our volunteers have been extra busy recently and to end the month of May, plus kick-start June I joined them for a parade around Penrith with five of our heritage fleet taking to the streets!



It has indeed been a jam-packed month and as always, we won’t be slowing down as we enter the Winter months! Stay tuned to see what else our team get up to this Winter!


-Blog by CEO Belinda McMartin

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