In a town where gardens are perfectly manicured, offsetting the surrounding desert and salt lakes, the Reflection Garden came from the loss of two much-loved and respected career firefighters based at the Mildura Fire Station in 2016.
Damien Burke and Nathan Shanahan’s deaths shook the CFA family. However, members of Mildura brigade have used their grief to raise awareness about depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health in general among CFA personnel and the wider community.
By shining the light on mental health, the Mildura Fire Station welcomed important initiatives around mental health and wellbeing awareness, which are now being rolled out across CFA. This has helped to further break down the stigma around mental health, and has encouraged team members to have conversations around mental health and to feel comfortable in raising their hand up and saying “I’m not OK”.
The Reflection Garden displays a number of symbols to celebrate and remember Damien and Nathan;
- The water feature is made of old bridge support beams symbolising an ability to carry a heavy load
- The brick laid in front of the water feature are from Nathan’s home, and Nathan’s young children both helped lay the bricks with firefighters from the station
- Each shift have their own garden area, each area is symbolic of the cycle of life
- The outdoor kitchen is there for the team to spend time cooking and sharing meals together, symbolic of mateship of a fire station.