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Two Years of the Museum's Blog!

Our mascot Duke with the printed blog (despite his expression he is an avid reader)!
Our mascot Duke with the printed blog (despite his expression he is an avid reader)!

This week’s blog marks two years since we made the decision to start producing a weekly blog and it is a decision that I am very glad we made!

One of the things Museum’s can do is to engage with audiences in new and exciting ways - a digital blog that covers a great variety of topics is the easiest way to attract new audiences, while also appealing and engaging with existing audiences.

The Museum’s blog covers a great variety of topics from what is currently taking place in the Museum, such as exhibition upgrades and museum events, to detailed vehicle blogs on historic appliances and station focuses that tell a quick but detailed story of a specific NSW fire brigade. In addition to this we have been able to produce blogs on many other topics such as the Women’s Fire Auxiliary, the creation of the Darwin Fire Brigade and the origins of firefighting in Sydney with the establishment of the fire brigade 200 years ago this year.

With so many topics, several external collaborations and so many of our team keen to contribute to the blogs I am really pleased to see this platform go from strength to strength.

Some of the Achievements and Events of the last twelve months by the Museum Team:

As a not-for-profit and charitable organisation, we don’t have an advertising budget, so it is great that this platform has allowed the Museum to become known to many people from all corners of the globe and it has played a role in growing the Museum’s visitation.

The last two years have flown by, and it is easy to forget how much we’ve actually achieved as an organization in this time. The blog is just one of so many other great innovations we’ve put in place to enhance the Museum's public offerings. To read more about everything else I’m talking about I recommend you check out all of our blogs by visiting the main blog page:

We understand that not all of our audiences have access to our digital blog so once a month our team produce a printed blog that is provided to those who have subscribed to the printed version and it is placed in our shop for visitors to take away with them. This printed version is very popular with many of our members and volunteers, plus it has proved to be a great way to introduce new visitors to our weekly blogs. (The printed version is shown above in the image with our mascot Duke)!

In our first year we produced 51 blogs while in our second year we produced 50!

This time last year, while we were in lockdown, we used the one-year birthday of our blog to reflect on some of our most popular stories from the previous year. Today, this is what we will be doing again as we feature the top 10 blogs of the last 12 months!

Number 10.

1976 Toyota Pumper being unloaded at the Museum of Fire, 1990.
1976 Toyota Pumper being unloaded at the Museum of Fire, 1990.

We start this look back at 2021-2022, the second year of our blog, with one of our more recent blogs: A Tale of Three Cities: Penrith, Fujieda and Kakusan produced by the Museum’s Heritage Manager Natasha on 22 March 2022.

In the lead up to the opening of our latest exhibit, Celebrating Our Connections with Japan, Natasha shone a light on two of the Japanese vehicles in the Museum’s collection - the 1976 Toyota Pumper and the Japanese hand pump.

This blog was popular with a number of different sectors of our audience with the photo pictured here being very popular on social media as well.

The exhibition has now opened but before you visit why not read this blog first:

Number Nine.

We began the current 2021-2022 period in lockdown and remained in lockdown until October so it stands to reason that one of our lockdown blogs would make this list. With everyone stuck at home the number of readers of our blog increased which is reflected in this blog making it into the top 10 of most accessed blogs (you’ll also notice quite a few of this top 10 were produced during the lockdown)!

New research assistants; Duke & Suki (July 2021)
New research assistants; Duke & Suki (July 2021)

Working from Home – Lockdown 2021, published on 3 August 2021 featured a number of updates from the Museum team who were able to continue working during the lockdown. With the Museum closed all staff were stood down either completely or in-part. This blog discussed what the team had been up to and some of the challenges they faced while working from home.

Last week the team found themselves working from home again thanks to the floods but luckily everyone is back on site, and we continue to look towards a positive future.

Number Eight.

As the Heritage Partner to Fire and Rescue NSW the Museum produces the historical works for individual stations and brigades when they reach a century or re-locate to new buildings. Thanks to our digital blog we have been able to share many of these stories and in the last year they have been especially popular.

This station blog is one of three that has made the top 10 for 2021-2022!

Number Seven

The Museum's Siren gains a lot of interest!
The Museum's Siren gains a lot of interest!

If you’ve visited the Museum, you may have noticed the Museum’s historic red siren placed atop one of our outbuildings. This siren has always gained a lot of interest from visitors who firstly, want to know if it works (yes it does, but we don’t use it very often as a courtesy to our neighbours) and secondly, ask to know more about why it is there.

“A Brief History of the Station Siren”, published on 11 May 2022 by our Heritage Team answers those questions and has proved to be a much more popular topic than we anticipated! We are therefore glad to have been able to share this interesting piece of history!

Number Six

Vehicle blogs are always amongst the most popular, so it isn’t surprising that our most popular blog of 2021-2022 has been a vehicle blog but the sixth most popular is also a vehicle blog. This blog was produced on 8 February 2022 by our Heritage Team and was titled “The International ACCO C1600”.

This blog was shared to help promote the Museum’s February Heritage Day which was themed “Internationals”.

This specific vehicle has been selected as our “vehicle of the year”. What does that mean? Well, you’ll just have to keep an eye on our social media and blog to find out!

In the meantime, follow this link to read the blog:

International C1600 ME 468 on the Museum of Fire grounds.
International C1600 ME 468 on the Museum of Fire grounds.

Number Five - Halfway There!

This is a two-part series blog (and we are kind of cheating by putting them together, but the stats show that these two blogs are mostly accessed at the same time) and is all about another FRNSW Station: Narrabri.

A local resident helps with flood relief in Narrabri, November 2000
A local resident helps with flood relief in Narrabri, November 2000

The two blogs we are referring are Station Focus: No. 399 Narrabri (1918-2018) from 20 September 201 and The Narrabri Floods and what to do if flooding comes to you, produced on 22 November 201 by our Engagement Officer Olivia.

The latter blog addressed the little-known fact that floods are the most expensive type of natural disaster we face in Australia. At the time of writing the costliest summer for floods in Australia was 2010-11 across Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and Brisbane which cost 7.45 billion dollars! Who could have predicted that after this blog was published, we’d face two major flooding incidents and that both would see the Museum evacuated?

This blog talks about the 2001 floods in Narrabri and shares some insight into what to do if floods come to you. This blog and the history of Narrabri are well worth a read no matter where you live.

We’d also like to acknowledge the support Narrabri Fire Brigade and the local community have provided to the Museum over the last year by sharing these blogs and related social media across their platforms.

To check them out follow these links:

Narrabri Fire Brigade and Station, November 2000
Narrabri Fire Brigade and Station, November 2000

Number Four

Shand Mason Steam Fire Engine, 1873
Shand Mason Steam Fire Engine, 1873

The Museum has a number of people who contribute to the production of blogs both in full and in part. This great historic blog was put together by one of the Museum’s volunteers Heaven, who prior to lockdown had been helping to catalogue the Museum’s archival collection. During lockdown she put this blog together as it was something that could be undertaken remotely.

Many people comment about the Shand Mason and how interesting it is but they know very little about the history, so this is a great blog to fill in those blanks.

Titled: Shand Mason and Co’s Steam Fire Engine in Australia and published on 17 August 2021.

Number Three - Top Three Time!

The third most popular blog of the last year was another Station focus, this one was all about Batlow and was shared following the popularity of a photograph shared on our social media of Batlow’s fire engine in snow in the 1990s (pictured here).

Titled: Station Focus: No. 218 Batlow (1966-2018) and published on 27 July 2021 this blog shines the light on the small country town of Batlow.

Number Two

If you haven’t seen the image behind our second most popular blog (pictured here) we would be very surprised!

This photograph has been the subject of memes all over the world and every few months it does the rounds once again with the Museum having to remind people that it is a historic image and that we are still here and open!

The blog, 10 Years Since the Harvey Norman Super Store Fire was published on 22 February 2022 by the Museum’s Engagement Officer Olivia to commemorate a decade since this major fire occurred and the iconic photograph was taken.

We often hear about this fire from local firies so we expected it would be a popular blog but we didn’t expect it to be this popular and reach number two on this countdown!

To see what everyone else is reading about and to find out the story behind “that image” follow this link:


Drum Roll! The most popular blog of the last year was “Austral Denning FirePac” shared on 16 November 2021 by our Heritage and Engagement Teams.

You’d be forgiven for being unfamiliar with Austral, a company which has gone by several other names at different points in history and operated only from 1945 to 1998.

It wasn’t just this blog that was popular but a photograph from this blog that was shared on social media showing the appliance in use after a hailstorm in Sydney in 1999 helped spread the word about this blog which contributed to it making it to number one on this list!

If you enjoy reading these blogs please make sure to subscribe and consider becoming a Museum member as a way to support the Museum and ensure that these blogs continue to be produced! Follow this link to learn more about Museum membership:

Before we finish this reflective blog we thought we’d share what the overall, most read blog from the last two years is! You probably guessed it was a vehicle blog but did you guess which one? We think you may not have as it isn’t what you might think!

The most popular blog produced by the Museum over the last two years is:

A Short History of the Hand Drawn Hose Reel, produced by the Museum’s Curatorial team and shared on 19 January 2021.

Prior to the advent of the modern motorised appliances used by Fire and Rescue NSW today (FRNSW), brigades responded to fire calls with hand (or horse) drawn devices. These manual appliances typically required at least two personnel to operate and were essential for transporting firefighting equipment to the scene of an incident. This blog gives a brief overview of the manual hose reels utilised in New South Wales firefighting efforts from the 1870s up until the 1940s.

The people don’t lie! Check out what everyone else is reading by following this link:


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