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Four Years of Sharing Stories - the Four-Year Anniversary of the Museum's Blog

As has become customary on the anniversary of our blog first being published, we take this opportunity to look back at the last twelve months and share the 10 most popular blogs. As we count down to the most popular blog of the year it is very evident to see from all popular blogs just how important remembering the past is. This is especially true when it comes to major disasters which impact entire communities. This is represented in the most read blogs.


The Museum’s weekly blogs provide an insight into the various projects and activities taking place within the organisation but also are a way for our team to share lots of different historical stories from the past, some that you won’t find in the Museum.


In the last twelve months our team have installed and de-installed three temporary exhibitions at the Museum. Collaborated with Orange Regional Museum for their local exhibition. Researched and shared the history for seven FRNSW station events in our capacity as official Heritage Partner and we’ve been celebrating 140 years of FRNSW as well as welcoming representatives of the FRNSW Community Fire Unit (CFU) team to the Museum to celebrate 30 years since the program began.


We welcomed the “white knight” into our collection, and it subsequently became our 2024 vehicle of the year which our volunteers are diligently working on to make ready for display next year. We also hosted our annual history week keynote address and inducted Dr. Kristine Klugman OAM as our fourth life member.


That is JUST what our heritage team have been up to! When it comes to events, our team has been very busy with the museum the host venue for several car shows and FRNSW activities, including Open Day. We’ve also hosted three of our family day events as well as the awards ceremony for the 2023 art prize.

Offsite we have had pop-up shops at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, the Hawkesbury Show and many other community events.


The last twelve months have been jam packed and so have our blogs so without further ado here are the top 10 blogs everyone was reading in the last 12 months!

 

#10 – “Voices from the Past” – Special History Week Blog 2023 (11 September 2023)


On Sunday 10th September 2023 the Museum hosted our annual History Week Keynote Presentation with this years theme being "Voices From the Past".


With this topic we chose to highlight the history of women in the fire brigade in NSW our CEO Belinda McMartin gave our keynote address with our special guest speaker being Dr. Kristine Klugman OAM.

This blog shares the story of the role of women in the NSWFB before 1984.


To read the blog click HERE


Female Firefighters with Deputy President of the Board of Fire Commissioner's Dr Kristine Klugman 24 November 1986 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Female Firefighters with Deputy President of the Board of Fire Commissioner's Dr Kristine Klugman 24 November 1986 [Museum of Fire Collection]

#9 – The History of the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in the MFB (1904-1909) (25 October 2023)


Guest author SO Ian Grimwood shares the story of the creation of the long service and good conduct medal with the first being awarded in 1903.


To read the blog click HERE


Medal of George James Alchin [Museum of Fire Collection]
Medal of George James Alchin [Museum of Fire Collection]

#8 – The History of the Wheeled Escape Ladder (4 October 2023)


As buildings grew taller, the use of ladders for saving life became apparent. The early pumping engines were too small to carry ladders on board, so they were carried by the responding firefighters. The need for longer, and disproportionally heavier, ladders and the later use of extendable ladders of even greater weight soon led to the development of means of transporting them. This blog tells the story of the wheeled escape as an early firefighting appliance.

 

To read the blog click HERE


Escape ladders in use at a fire on Kent St, Sydney, October 1902 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Escape ladders in use at a fire on Kent St, Sydney, October 1902 [Museum of Fire Collection]


#7 – Celebrating 140 Years: An Introduction to a Year of Memories (9 January 2024)


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.


This blog by our CEO Belinda McMartin introduces the history behind the 140-year celebration and sets the scene for a year full of historical memories.


To read the blog click HERE


Collage image combining the first ever aerial appliance used in NSW which came into service in 1893 with a modern fire engine from 098 Cranebrook
Collage image combining the first ever aerial appliance used in NSW which came into service in 1893 with a modern fire engine from 098 Cranebrook

#6 – 2024 Vehicle of the Year – the White Knight – the 1984 Centenary Vehicle of the NSWFB (12 February 2024)


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.


To read the blog click HERE


The Centenary Truck at the stairs to the Opera House, 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]
The Centenary Truck at the stairs to the Opera House, 1984 [Museum of Fire Collection]

#5 – Station Focus: Alexandria Fire Brigade 1877-2024 (21 May 2024)


This has been the most popular station blog of the last twelve months and featured the story of what was originally known as No. 13 Waterloo Fire Brigade. This history was put together for the re-opening of the station after major renovations.


To read the blog click HERE


Alexandria Fire Station, 2024 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Alexandria Fire Station, 2024 [Museum of Fire Collection]

#4 – Code Red: 1973 Warringah Shopping Mall Tragedy (20 November 2023)


On the 20 November 1973 at 3:42pm, control received the call to a fire which had engulfed the multistorey Woolworths located at Warringah Mall in Brookvale in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. By 5:49pm the Woolworths supermarket had been utterly devastated and reduced to nothing but a smouldering ruin.


You can read about this tragedy that took place 50 years ago by clicking HERE


Water Tower from a Turntable Ladder unit from The Rocks attempting to extinguish the flames, 20 November 1973 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Water Tower from a Turntable Ladder unit from The Rocks attempting to extinguish the flames, 20 November 1973 [Museum of Fire Collection]

#3 – A shoulder to lean on – looking at the history of the chaplains in the fire brigade (24 August 2023)


This blog was created to coincide with the retirement of long-time FRNSW Senior Chaplain Lindsay Smith and his wife Dawn. The blog shares the history of the role of the chaplain from its inauguration back in 1981.


To read the blog by clicking HERE


Chaplains Dawn and Lindsay Smith [Museum of Fire Collection]
Chaplains Dawn and Lindsay Smith [Museum of Fire Collection]

#2 – Thirty Years Since the 1994 Bushfires (3 January 2024)


The 1994 bushfires caused great devastation to the wider Sydney and Newcastle areas. This is just a very short summary of how the emergency progressed as we try to pay tribute to what at the time was an un-precedent event. In the aftermath of the tragedy great learnings were taken away and as a result firefighters are more prepared to manage bushfire emergencies. As a result of the fires a coronial inquiry was held which led to the re-development of the Bushfire Brigade, which became the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and within the NSWFB the establishment of Community Fire Unit’s (CFU) was initiated.


To read the blog follow the link HERE


Fire rises up behind Faulconbridge Train Station in the Blue Mountains, January 1994 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Fire rises up behind Faulconbridge Train Station in the Blue Mountains, January 1994 [Museum of Fire Collection]

#1 – Remembering the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires (6 February 2024)


The Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009 remain one of the most devastating emergency incidents in Australian history. A number of large bushfires across the state of Victoria caused devastation to communities and wildlife, with emergency services from across the country providing aid both during and after the event. Lives, houses, whole towns, and wildlife were lost in the tragedy, however, the strong Australian camaraderie, mateship and resilience never wavered.


To read the blog click HERE


Black Saturday Bushfires, Labertouche 7 February 2009 [Museum of Fire Collection]
Black Saturday Bushfires, Labertouche 7 February 2009 [Museum of Fire Collection]

The Museum’s blog is published weekly. To stay up to date be sure to follow the Museum on Facebook at Museum of Fire or @mof_sydney on Instagram!


-Blog By CEO Belinda McMartin

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