The development of a new museum in the South East dedicated to South Australia’s fire fighting history has progressed to its next stage with an appeal for donations to help accelerate the project.
A committee of CFS volunteers who came up with the proposal almost a decade ago have been the driving force behind SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum which has secured a site in Smith Street at Naracoorte.
SAVFFM Chairman, Rex Hall travelled through the Mid North and Flinders Ranges last week to research, record, conserve and promote the history and equipment of the SA Volunteer Fire Service.
His journey began by meeting President of the Lower North Branch of the CFSVA, Ray Bryant at Roseworthy and then Mr Peter Ferris in Burra to distribute SAVFFM promotional material.
Next he met the Northern Branch CFSVA representative Fred Munzer and visited the Laura cemetery to photograph the grave of R J Rose who was Secretary of the Northern Fire Fighting Association 1926-1939 and in conjunction with the Association is credited in founding the Country Fire Service as we know it today.
He also had the opportunity to meet with local councils including Mt Remarkable Council, Northern Areas Council and Crystal Brook and Port Pirie Regional Council to speak about the project.
It didn’t stop there as he then met with the local SAVFFM representative, Mr Bob Kirby and the two spoke with Minister Geoff Brock MP Minister for the electorate of Frome and briefed him to the aims of the Volunteer Fire Service Museum and highlighting the importance of the local area.
Mr Hall also had the opportunity to speak with Annette Marner from the ABC Port Pirie informing her listeners of the recent progress and significance of the local area in the history of the Volunteer Fire Service in SA.
The reason for the journey around the Flinders Ranges was to conduct interviews and briefing with local residents/historians, papers, the local Councils and recognise the importance of the areas surrounding the Wirrabara Forest.
SAVFFM Chairman Rex Hall said the building plans have been completed and with planning approvals pending was hoping for South Australians and private businesses to help kick-start its construction.
“This is a private project driven by a small group of CFS volunteers for the benefit of South Australians to preserve the state’s fire fighting history for future generations,” Mr Hall said.
“We’re relying on support from private donations and the private business sector which will be greatly appreciated for this museum to be the first of its kind in South Australia.”
The first stage of the project will involve the construction of a 25 x 25 metre shed on a concrete slab. “Stage one of construction for the steel-framed shed, cement floor and fittings will cost around $150, 000,” Mr Hall said.
The SAVFFM has acquired 20 decommissioned fire appliances with some of them restored by volunteers, in addition to a substantial collection of miscellaneous fire fighting items which will be stored at the museum in Naracoorte.
“These items which are being temporarily housed in sheds and shipping containers at the Naracoorte showground, include uniforms, protective equipment, training aids, maps, photos, and general memorabilia, some dating back almost a century,” Mr Hall said.
“The new museum will not only present South Australia’s volunteer fire fighting history but will also be somewhere to commemorate the contributions of past and present CFS volunteer fire fighters towards their communities.”
Tax deductable donations or sponsorship for the SAVFFM project can be forwarded to PO Box 1222, Naracoorte, SA 5271. Further information on the museum is available from the SAVFFM website at www.savffm.net.au