*This information is an extract from the colour-book produced by the Museum of Fire's Heritage Team to celebrate major renovations at Kariong Fire Station and Metro North 2 Zone Office. Should you wish to use any of the information and pictures provided we ask that you please reference the Museum correctly and contact the Museum for permission where applicable.
The Establishment of a Fire Brigade in Kariong
The first steps to have a fire brigade established in Kariong took place in 1992-1993 when planning began to
have stations established in several fast growing centres. These centres included St. Andrews, Marayong, Rouse Hill and Tweed Heads, as well as Kariong.
The theory behind the establishment of a station at Kariong was to meet the needs of the growing Gosford area. Back In the 1970s a number of new stations were established along the central coast; however they were largely created to meet the needs of a transient population which comprised holidaymakers and retirees. By the end of the century this was considered to now be one of the state’s fastest growing urban centres and so the NSWFB needed to adapt to meet the changing needs of the community.
Throughout the 1994 bushfire crisis the need for a fire station in Kariong became evident. Kariong was used as a staging post for three Task Force Groups due to the increased fire risk to the Lake Macquarie Region. From here teams could be easily deployed to wherever they were needed, whether it be further north in places such as Newcastle, inland or to the south.
In 1995 it was announced that plans were underway to acquire land in Kariong for a fire station. The preferred land was part of the Mt. Penang Juvenile Justice Facility.
Administration delays, including needing to have the site selected, re-zoned and subdivided meant that work on the fire station was delayed but by 1996 the station was included in the NSWFB budget with $1,157,000 (equal to approximatley $2 million today) assigned to the project.
Despite this, negotiations for construction of the station continued on for a number of years and it wasn’t until 1998/1999 that construction of Kariong Fire Station was once again budgeted in the annual capital works program.
The first brigade assigned consisted of five Retained Firefighters from 1 July 1999. These were C. McManus (from Saratoga), C. Tucker (from Terrigal), M. Crotty (from Saratoga), K. Bosley (from Ettalong) and G. Gregory (from Wyong).
In August a number of other Retained Firefighters were also assigned to the brigade and on 15 October 1999 Martin Sinclair was assigned to the rank of Captain. The Retained Firefighters were to supplement a permanent day-time roster. Despite this the station was not yet completed with construction significantly delayed due to unusually high rates of rain throughout the year.
The station finally became operational on 21 December 1999 having been completed at a cost of $1,135,000 (approximately $1.9 million today).
Though operational in December 1999, the new station was officially opened on Wednesday 22 March 2000 and was staffed by ten Permanent Firefighters (6am-6pm) and twelve Retained Firefighters (6pm-6am).
Kariong Fire Brigade Today
Today Kariong is home to approximately 6,400 and is the gateway between Sydney and Newcastle. Due to its proximity to these major centres Kariong is developing, hence why upgrades have been made to the brigades’ facilities.
Major works began on Kariong Fire Station in 2017 and these were completed in early 2020. The new development comprised the addition of a third engine bay and the provision of a Zone and Duty Command Office.
According to the latest FRNSW Annual Report for the year 2018-2019, Kariong Fire Brigade have responded to 688 incidents of which just 137 were fire related. Kariong Fire Brigade is in the unique position of being one of the few brigades in NSW to have a complete staff of both Permanent and Retained Firefighters.
Kariong A Platoon Pictured (L to R): SF Brendan Moss, SF Robert Slade, SF Bart McIntyre, SO Craig Warren and Inspector Mark Delves.
B Platoon (L to R): Inspector Chris Bishop, SO Sean Davies, SF Jason Kirkman, SF Peter Burden and SF Sinisa Kukor.
Kariong C Platoon Pictured (L to R): Inspector Bob Barton, SO Danny Webster, SF Max Gale, SF Dwayne Mulroy and SF Anthony Higgins.
Kariong D Platoon Pictured (L to R): Inspector Jarrod King, SO Barry Casey,
SF Tim Betland, FF David Wilkie and SF Glen Hughes.
Kariong Retained Fire Brigade, 2020.
Back Row (L to R): Dave Rowland, Matt Bennett, Anthony Barkley and Sam Allen.
Front Row (L to R): Captain Mark Formston, Dan Smith, Maciek Fabrich, Dave George, Julia Barkley, Liam Blinco, Aaron Bayliss, Karl King and Deputy Captain Rod Binding.
We hope you enjoyed this tribute to the Firefighters of Kariong!
-Museum of Fire Heritage Team