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Introducing the Museum's Senior Leadership Team and an Update on current events

We’ve only just begun March and already 2021 has been a very busy year for the Museum and our amazing staff!

Dennis Day at the Museum (7 Feb 2021)
Dennis Day at the Museum (7 Feb 2021)

Following on from the success of the Museum’s 2020 Art Competition exhibition and awards ceremony we hosted our first Heritage Day for 2021. To kick off our heritage days we chose the theme “Dennis”. The reason for this was that it was 50 years ago, back in 1971 that the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW (today Fire and Rescue NSW) placed 42 new Dennis pumpers into service as part of a dedicated effort to equip their brigades with state-of-the-art firefighting appliances.

It was the largest pumper intake in the Brigades’ history, compared to an average annual intake of 19 units seen over the nine years prior.

One of these 42 units is at the Museum and was one of 10 Dennis appliances on display as part of our Dennis Day.

Despite major roadworks causing access difficulties it was a great day at the Museum and due to the success of the day we have decided to make the theme of our next Heritage Day, 11 July “People’s Choice”. This means that in May we will open voting to the public so you can decide what vehicles you’d like to see on display on Heritage Day! More information about this will come soon!

Our four Heritage Days have now become a staple of our calendar, but they are by no means all we are offering as far as events go! If you visit our events page on our website, you will be able to see all that is scheduled for 2021!

The next event on our calendar’s is the Australian Heritage Festival. As part of this annual month-long event hosted by the National Trust the Museum is offering a number of special activities. During this festival we will also be launching a brand-new temporary exhibition called “Our Heritage” which will feature the history of the Museum and our heritage listed building.

To coincide with this new exhibition, we are running a history competition for high school students. As part of this exhibition, we want to feature the voices of the future to help our visitors understand why places like our Museum are important. See the competition flyer and our website for more information.

Introducing the Museum's Senior Leadership Team

2021 has brought a number of firsts for the Museum’s staff and one of these was our first ever strategic planning day that was held last week. The Museum’s senior staff all gathered together to discuss the future of the Museum, our exhibition plans, event calendar and other ways we can continue to grow public support for the Museum.

This was a very fruitful day and a great way for myself, as CEO, to encourage ideas and discussion amongst our team. On a daily basis I am inspired by the dedication of the Museum’s team and what is evident is how much everyone loves contributing to our cause. As a not for profit and registered charity we can often face many obstacles such as a lack of funding and resources but our team prove time and time again how ingenious they can be to turn what would otherwise be a hindrance into a minor bump in the road.

Many people may not realise that all of the Museum’s senior staff are in fact women. With International Women’s Day next week I thought this would be a good opportunity to briefly introduce our team.

The Museum has over 50 volunteers that assist on a regular basis and we also have a number of front of house staff that enable the Museum to operate 7 days a week, 9:30am-4:30pm. The team I am about to introduce are our senior staff who keep things going in our “engine room”.

Museum of Fire 2021 Strategic Planning Session
Museum of Fire Strategic Planning Session, Feb 2021

Pictured from left to right above:

Laura Anderson, Curator: Laura has been with the Museum for just under one year and in that time, she has re-developed the Museum’s collecting practices as well as trained a whole new group of volunteers and staff to act as curatorial and research assistants. Laura has been responsible for the Museum’s recently successful grants program that enables a number of new exhibitions to be developed (in effect Laura has been very successful in creating more work for herself)!

Kris McDonell, Museum Operations Manager (MOM): Our MOM as she is affectionately known, Kris ensures the Museum is able to open and be operational each and every day. Kris manages all of our front of house staff and volunteers and is responsible for the efficient operations of all Museum public activities. Kris also oversees the Museum shop, all bookings and has been with the Museum for 16 years.

Belinda McMartin, Chief Executive Officer: I think I have been introduced many times already, so I want to make sure the rest of our team are well represented in my blog today. Without these amazing and supportive women, I could not perform my duties so I’d like to pay tribute to their dedication. If you do want to find out more about myself, you can read our Chairman’s Blog from December 2020 (

Kate Coleman, Administrative Assistant and PA: Kate is effectively the gatekeeper to myself as CEO. Kate manages my diary and is the first port of call for anyone seeking a meeting. As I’m sure you can imagine my daily schedule is often jam packed and it is Kate’s responsibility to ensure I have the tools I need to manage all aspects of the Museum. Kate also works with Liz our Executive Administration Officer and Kris our MOM to ensure both the office and the Museum are able to work efficiently each day.

Liz White, Executive Administration Officer: Liz has been with the Museum for almost 20 years and plays a key role in the efficient running of the Museum’s administrative side as our office manager. Liz manages the Museum’s major events such as the Sydney Classic and Antique Truck Show, Penrith Working Truck Show and the Doll, Bear and Craft Fair.

Cassandra Rodger, Engagement and Education Officer: Cassandra is the newest addition to the Museum team. Cassandra has been tasked with overseeing the Museum’s public image, education programs and in-house activities. She will also work with our Curator Laura to create an online exhibition. As Cassandra finds her feet within our team, we have no doubt she will prove to be an asset.

CEO Belinda McMartin, Operations Manager Kris McDonell and Curator Laura Anderson
CEO Belinda McMartin, Operations Manager Kris McDonell and Curator Laura Anderson

A Visit from the Museum's Patron

Before I finish this blog I just want to take a minute to thank the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Hon. David Elliott for his ongoing support of the Museum over the last few years.

Mr. Elliott is the patron of the Museum and last week paid a special visit to the Museum to view the Museum's 2020 Art Competition exhibition. We are pleased to say he was just as impressed with the exhibition as we were and we look forward to welcoming him back to the Museum to view the 2021 exhibition later in the year.

Pictured here is Fire and Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Jim Hamilton, Museum of Fire CEO Belinda McMartin and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott.

The 2020 Art exhibition is only on show for a few more weeks so don't miss out on your opportunity to see it!

Thank you all once again for your ongoing support and we hope to see you in the Museum soon!

-Belinda McMartin, CEO


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