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  • Writer's pictureCEO

October is here and the Museum has lots on offer!

Our Curator Ben Dickson, Captain Ian Boyle of Muswellbrook, and our CEO Belinda McMartin at the opening of the new Muswellbrook Fire Station, 6 October 2023.

Our Halloween Rocks scavenger hunt is now entering its third year and it has been so popular in the past that we have extended it from Saturday 28th until Tuesday 31st October where the Museum will remain open until 7pm with fire engine rides running throughout the day until 6pm (see website for details). The best part is that ALL children who come in costume get in for FREE! So, get your kids Halloween costume ready & come join the team for a spookily fun adventure!

*Terms and conditions apply so please visit the website to plan your visit.

As we approach the end of October the Museum’s children’s art competition also will open for entries. This is the fourth instalment of the competition and when we began this annual event, we had no idea it would grow to be so popular! Our topics have paid tribute to the horrific bushfires of 2019-20, the response of emergency service personnel to the pandemic, the impact of the 2021 and 2022 floods; and now this year’s theme focuses on the topic of “rescue”. Every year I’m blown away by the creativity of the submissions and I’m sure this year will be no different! To enter the competition this year head over to our page 2023 Art Competition Entries Open. To look at previous year winners and shortlisted entries click the images below.

Last month I was lucky enough to visit the DFES Education and Heritage Centre (aka the Perth Fire Museum) and while I was there, I spent time with the staff and dedicated volunteers discussing the challenges faced by the Museum as well as future projects and activities. As one of the few fire museums in existence in Australia this sort of collaboration is invaluable, and I’ve come home with a spring in my step and lots of ideas for how we can better adapt our museum to a changing world. I look forward to collaborating with the DFES team in the future as we strive to both create up-to-date exhibits that better represent current safety practices when it comes to fire education and prevention. This is a big undertaking, but our team are excited to start this process in the new year so watch this space and follow us on social media for future updates.

I really enjoyed the DFES centre as the building itself is beautiful and was commissioned in 1899 with the fire station opening on 1 January 1901 and is today heritage listed. The building is beautiful and open to the public for free with numerous contemporary displays of firefighting, rescue history and activities. The building ceased to be used as a fire station in 1979 with restoration work on parts of the building taking place throughout the 1980s, ultimately opening as an education centre in 1985.

Here is a #wheelWednesday direct from Perth!

While walking through the Museum this wheel caught my eye and I thought it would make the perfect #wheelwednesday Can you identify what appliance it belongs to? I was surprised to learn that it was actually motorised which I wasn’t expecting when I saw the wheel from a distance! The appliance was restored in 2017 and now sits proudly on display as part of the DFES Heritage Fleet.

Answer: This wheel belongs to the lightweight Pulsometer Trailer Fire Pump which was constructed by the Pulsometer Engineering Works in London in 1936. It was commissioned by the Albany Harbour Trust where it was used for ship fires. The pump was capable of delivering 530L per minute and was powered by a J.A. Prestwich & Co motor. This company predominantly made motorbike engines which meant that their small engines were perfect for this usage. The V2 motor produced 22.8 horsepower when working at 2,900 revolutions per minute.

The pump and motor were mounted on a trailer with other firefighting equipment.

It isn’t just our exhibits that we are working hard to keep up-to-date but the skills of our staff as well! Our team prides ourselves on making sure all of our staff are educated on fire safety, especially in procedures in case of an emergency. For this reason we were thrilled to have the team from ComSafe provide up-to-date training for our staff. Our team is prepared for anything thanks to ComSafe! If you are interested in utilising the services of ComSafe for your business you can head to their website here:

Keeping with the theme of up to date our theatre has finally had a much-needed overhaul! Thanks to the Community Building Partnership grant program we have been able to update our salmon-coloured and technologically challenged theatre into a sophisticated, conference-calling enabled multi-purpose room. The Museum’s theatre was constructed as a Bicentenary project back in 1988 and since that time had experienced very little change. Within a six-week period the carpet was stripped, a new wall was built, the entire space was re-painted and new audio-visual equipment was installed. In addition to this the old chairs were replaced with brand new ones, completing the new and modern look.

The Museum’s theatre is used for our education programs and can be hired for private use. At all other times it is open to the public where it plays videos provided by our Heritage Partner FRNSW on a continuous loop during museum opening hours.

I’d also like to share with you some brand-new stock in the Museum! I am so pleased to showcase the new variety of items available, especially if you are a Paw Patrol fan! Marshall is now well represented on our shelves as are several other dalmatian themed items from the Ty-Beanie company and Disney. You can purchase this stock either in person or via our online store.

I want to finish this CEO Blog by paying tribute to one of the Museum’s dedicated volunteers, Peter Temenczko who sadly passed away recently. Peter was an invaluable asset to the Museum whose skills were constantly on show through the Museum’s various restoration projects.

In 2021 Peter was named “Volunteer of the Year” for his speed and precision in leading the team who gave the well-known fire engine at the Museum’s entrance on Castlereagh Road a much-needed facelift (Peter is pictured here with the finished product).

Peter also worked on the Museum’s Commer which was nominated for a National Heritage Award earlier this year and the second fire engine to be commissioned for visitors to ride in at the Museum. These three big projects, all noted here, were completed in under two years which speaks to Peter’s devotion to the Museum.

On a personal note, when I think of Peter, I remember his unwavering support of the Museum during these last few years of uncertainty and change. He wasn’t afraid to adapt to whatever new challenges the Museum faced, and he provided both myself and our entire team with unwavering support.

Peter was a gentle giant who, at every opportunity, would say that a “breath of fresh air” was upon us which always made me and our team smile.

Peter will be missed by the Museum community, and we send our condolences to his entire family.

- Story by Belinda McMartin, CEO


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