Museum of Fire
Here you'll find links to some of my favourite blogs that have been shared over on www.museumoffire.net
Some have great historical content and stories while others take a look at what happens behind the scenes at the Museum.
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"Voices From the Past" -
History Week 2023
On Sunday 10th September 2023 the Museum hosted our annual History Week Keynote Presentation with this years theme being "Voices From the Past". With this topic we chose to highlight the history of women in the fire brigade in NSW.
This blog is extracted from the 2023 keynote address and talks about the history of women in NSW Firefighting which did not begin in the 1980s but dates back to World War Two with the establishment of the Women’s Fire Auxiliary. These women created a legacy within the NSW Fire Brigade that for the most part has been underrepresented and lost to history.
Date: 11 September 2023
When it comes to operating a museum about firefighting, it may seem ironic that one of the greatest threats to a museum, is fire, or it may be the perfect opportunity to practice what we preach when it comes to fire safety.
You may have noticed a few planned and sudden un-planned closures for the Museum this year and at the heart of all these closures has been our desire to ensure the Museum is protected when it comes to fire safety and the integrity of the building.
Date: 30 August 2023
Our team at the Museum have a busy schedule of events planned for the year and I’m excited to see lots of visitors pass through our doors. Read the blog to see what we have p[lanned for 2022!
I can scarcely complete a blog without dipping my toe into some history – old habits die hard after all!
I was inspired by the heritage teams’ recent posts about the new brigades established 75 years ago in 1948. In total seven new brigades were formed in Bombala, Branxton-Greta, Henty, The Entrance, Culcairn, Forster and Lake Cargelligo.
Date: 3 January 2023
For the last 46 years (since 1977), International Museum Day has been celebrated by Museum’s all around the world. The theme is selected by the International Council of Museum’s (ICOM) and organisations, no matter what size, are encouraged to engage and share their stories.
This blog looks at some of the activities undertaken by our team across the busiest months we've ever experienced for the Museum team and I also share my thoughts & takeaways from the recent Australian Museum and Galleries conference in Newcastle.
Date: 25 May 2023
Out of Flood & Fire:
Stories from 2022
The Museum recently shared a post on our social media remembering 80 years since the bombing of Darwin began during World War Two (WWII) on 19 February 1942.
The war had a significant impact on the history of firefighting in Australia with the Darwin Fire Brigade directly created as a result of the war response. This brigade was established by the NSW Fire Brigade (NSWFB).
In 2018, the Museum received support from the NSW Department of Veterans Affairs and was able to include this important piece of history in our wartime era display. This is an extract from the story of the NSWFB and WWII.
This blog is extracted from the exhibit. Click here to read it!
Date: 10 March 2022
I never thought a year on from the ’disastrous’ floods of 2021 that I’d be sitting down to write a blog about the ‘even more disastrous‘ floods of 2022!
It was like 2021 was a dry run for what happened in 2022 (pardon the terrible pun)!
In 2021, we faced something we hadn’t before and had to work out how to respond. This time we knew what to do, but we didn’t expect it to drag on as long as it did. Being the heritage partner of Fire and Rescue NSW, the Museum understands the importance of following emergency service safety advice, and we empathise with the frustrations voiced by the public regarding disrupted Museum operations.
Date: 29 March 2022
On Friday 3 June, the Museum of Fire held a formal opening of the Celebrating our Connections with Japan exhibition. The new exhibition highlights Penrith City Council’s enduring relationship with its two sister cities, Fujieda City and Hakusan City (formally Matto) in Japan, through the lens of firefighting history. Belinda McMartin, Museum of Fire CEO, opened the exhibition with a number of key representatives from Penrith City Council, Fire and Rescue NSW and the Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR). To celebrate the new permanent exhibition space, a short morning tea was held for VIP guests with an opportunity to view and remark on the collection items. The exhibition space is a wonderful addition to the museum and the local community and brings an international perspective to the museum’s collection.
Date: 30 June 2022
This was the theme of the recent 2022 Australian Museum and Galleries Association Conference held in Perth, Western Australia.
It was great to be able to attend this meeting of Museum-minded people from all types of organisations across the sector. These annual events are always a useful way to assess how we are progressing as an organisation in comparison to the rest of the industry and to learn about ways that we can tackle some of the biggest issues facing our communities.
The Museum of Fire is in a rather unique position as it is one of a very small group of independent Museums with a paid-professional workforce. That is to say, most of our nation’s cultural organisations are operated by various levels of government.
Date: 28 June 2022
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.
Date: 14 July 2022
Across the state, 75 years ago, six new fire districts were created with the extension of the Fire Brigades Act. These were Bombala, Culcairn/Henty, Wyong, The Entrance, Terrigal and Braxton/Greta. Brigades were established in all six locations however most did not begin operating until the next year. Having said that several were already operating by the time the Act was extended. One of these was Finley which became operational in mid-1946.
Date: 2 August 2022
Since taking up the position of Museum of Fire CEO in mid-2020 I have been pleased to see the Museum develop and grow in all areas. When we re-opened the Museum following the first COVID closure in early 2020 we had just two permanent staff and three casual weekend staff. Two and a half years later we now have a team of fifteen and our heritage arm continues to be the greatest beneficiary of that growth.
Date: 20 December 2022
Battling Pandemics and Floods:
Stories from 2021
To celebrate History Week 2021 I was delighted to get to go back to my research roots. The theme "From the Ground Up" took us back to the earliest days of Sydney's fire protection, a topic that has not been discussed or research much in the past.
I presented the Museum's keynote presentation on this topic which you can watch by clicking here. The backbone of this presentation and my research were then converted into one of the Museum's longest ever blogs!
To read the blog please follow this link or click the title above: Special Edition History Week Blog! From the Ground Up - Sydney's Earliest Fire Protection
This blog was guest written by Mr. Bill Rowlings OAM and features the story of a very important lady - Dr Kristine Klugman OAM who was the first female to sit on the Board of Fire Commissioners NSW and helped pave the way for female firefighters.
Date: 16 June 2021
In March 2021 the Museum was forced to close our doors suddenly as the Penrith floodwaters began to rise. This blog recounts what we had to do to prepare the Museum and how it has impacted the collection.
Date: 25 March 2021
In this blog I got to reflect on the theme of International Museum's Day 2021 and take a look back at how the Museum got to where we are. This also features the Museum's latest temporary exhibit "Our Heritage".
Date: 18 May 2021
It is very timely to be writing this blog as we near the end of another month in lockdown. Being the end of the month, I am in the usual process of signing off on our financials and other projects, so it is a great time for reflection.
With the Museum closed until further notice we have had to adapt our public offerings and this has meant that we are heavily focusing upon digital content.
Date: 30 August 2021
What a year it has been! After such a tumultuous 2020 we never expected to face a more challenging 2021. This year the lockdown lasted much longer than the previous year and we were forced to stand down all of our staff either completely or partially (including myself and the senior management team).
Date: 27 October 2021
In 2020 the Museum launched our first ever children's art competition. We were blown away with the number of entries and the high standard. Just 30 made the shortlist and these were exhibited in the Museum. This blog shared which works won all of the prizes on offer.
Date: 27 January 2021
To coincide with the Museum's latest temporary exhibit "Our Heritage" we hosted a history competition for high school students. This blog announces who the winners were.
Date: 8 May 2021
Following a week in Canberra for the Australian Museums and Galleries Conference I put pen to paper to reflect on some of the key topics and themes discussed.
Date: 23 June 2021
In this blog we share the top 10 most read blogs of 2020-2021. Starting the Museum's blog is one of the things I am most proud of and I really love how everyone has come along for the ride. The blog is a great way to engage with our audience and share some of the lesser known stories.
Date: 12 July 2021
Welcome to The Museum Blog
Stories from 2020
This was my first ever blog as CEO and I'm really proud of how far our team and blog have come in the past year.
Date: 14 July 2020
Here I'm pictured standing outside NSW's oldest, still-standing (albeit no longer active) fire station. This blog was produced by the Museum's heritage team for History Week 2020.
Date: 29 September 2020
Thank you to everyone who has supported the Museum for History Week 2020! This was a new concept for the Museum but given the topic was “what is history good for?” we could hardly pass up the opportunity to showcase history as we continue to rebuild after the COVID closure and loss of our CEO Mark White.
Date: 22 September 2020