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Innovative art raises funds for Warburton
Around $2,500 from sold artworks will bolster the Warburton Fire Brigade, after decommissioned helmets were made into art and auctioned on 2 June at Coombe’s Melba Estate.
By Jesse Graham, Mail News Group
The HelmART exhibition featured 32 decommissioned fire helmets, which were turned over to Yarra Valley artists to make into works of art.
From decorative paintings and mosaics, to miniature gardens and even a functional lamp, the former helmets took on a new life and adorned the walls of Coombe Gallery from 22 May to 2 June.
Warburton Fire Brigade’s Centenary Events Coordinator, Leila Smith, said the exhibition was organised for the brigade’s 100th birthday.
“As part of that, we were trying to engage various community members to be able to help celebrate the occasion,” she said. “It started off as a fun project; something a little bit different to engage the artists.”
She said the response to the exhibition had been “amazing”, and that the money raised from the event was all going to the brigade.
“It will go towards maybe equipment … or we do have provisions for the replacement of vehicles – it’s up to the brigade really,” Leila said.
Bill Proctor’s helmet, The Wombat, was the most sought-after piece, and sold for $305, followed by Fire and Filigree by Lynette Orzlowski, which sold for $300.
The fire brigade and the Coombe Estate have a common historical link – Dame Nellie Melba opened the Warburton Fire Station in February 1915.
Estate manager Daniel Johnson said that Melba’s granddaughter, the late Pamela Lady Vestey, supported the CFA.
“She was very appreciative of the work they do, not just here at Coldstream, but throughout the region,” he said.
“So it makes sense to do everything we can to use this property to recognise and assist the wonderful job the volunteers do.”
The support of CFA showed in the pieces sold off, with many of them paying tribute to the work that firefighters do to protect their communities.
One helmet had been fashioned into a bird’s nest, with three eggs that read 'thank you CFA'.
Leila said that some pieces had been bought by members of the public and then donated to Warburton Fire Brigade.
For more information about HelmART or Warburton Fire Brigade’s centenary, go to Warburton Fire Brigade's Facebook page.