• Museum of Fire Heritage Team

Station Focus: No. 38 Pyrmont (1881-2016)

*This information is an extract from the colour-book produced by the Museum of Fire's Heritage Team to celebrate the re-opening of Pyrmont Fire Station back in 2016. 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 Pyrmont Volunteer Fire Brigade (1881-1886)

On Saturday 26 November 1881 some 2,000 people congregated on the green facing Union and Pyrmont Streets to christen the appliance of newly formed Pyrmont Brigade. Ten Brigades met at Number 1 Station, Haymarket and paraded from there to the new Station. Bands played as the procession passed through the city and the new appliance was decorated in a lovely assortment of flowers. The new manual appliance could be serviced by 14 men and was made within the NSW colony. During the Christening ceremony there was a commotion when the temporarily-erected stage the dignitaries were standing upon collapsed. Two children were injured when scaffolding became air-born however no one was seriously hurt.

Though the first volunteer Brigade of Pyrmont operated from a Station in Union Street it was never registered with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. The Brigade was disbanded in 1886 after William Bear, Superintendent of the MFB, wrote the following in the 1885 Annual Report;

“I may here inform your Board that the Pyrmont and Ultimo Volunteer Fire Company may well be considered disbanded, as they have paid very little attention during the past year even to their own district, and are now trying to sell their plant.”

Pyrmont Fire Station, c. 1906
Pyrmont Fire Station, c. 1906

The Establishment of a Fire Station in Pyrmont

On 25 August 1904, the site of the current Pyrmont Fire Station was resumed from a Mr. Mathew Harris at a cost of £1,425 (approximately $209,000 today). It wasn’t until March 1905, however, that the Board accepted the tender of Mr J.C. O’Brien to erect a fire station on the site. Prior to this there was much discussion about the erection of a fire station in Pyrmont as in March 1904, Superintendent Alfred Webb had already secured an appliance for use by the Brigade. He stated that if a temporary building could be erected he would make the appliance available for use as at the present time it was being used as a spare appliance at Headquarters.

In August 1906, prior to the opening of the new Pyrmont Station, Superintendent Alfred Webb had recommended to the Board of Fire Commissioners that the strength of the Brigade at Pyrmont be increased to ten men to facilitate the manning of the Station. This increase was approved, raising the number of permanent firefighters within the Metropolitan Fire Brigade to 176.

Designed by Government Architect, Walter Vernon, the new Station was erected at a cost of £6239 (approximately $877,000 today). The Station was occupied on 18th December 1906 and the first firefighters reported for duty at 4pm that day. Though there was no official opening held for the Station, on 20 December 1906 a number of Board Members inspected the new Station.

Pyrmont Fire Brigade outside the station, c. 1928
Pyrmont Fire Brigade outside the station, c. 1928

Pyrmont Fire Station Closed (1945-1959)

During World War Two (WWII) Pyrmont Fire Station was reconditioned to assist with the War Effort, with auxiliary workshop premises established to disperse the amount of work from headquarters. Following WWII, Pyrmont Fire Station was closed as the NSW Fire Brigades underwent a re-structure. It was believed that more modern vehicles were now available and hence fewer Fire Stations would be needed with the appliances able to travel faster and further.

On 9 September 1946 the possibility of re-opening Pyrmont Fire Station was discussed, when the Town Clerk implored the