The memorial, which will be located at the Treasury Gardens, will include fallen members from CFA, MFB, VICSES, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV), Ambulance Victoria, Life Saving Victoria and Marine Search and Rescue (MSAR).
Acting CFA Chief Officer and CEO Gavin Freeman said the turning of the sod ceremony today was an important milestone for everyone involved in the project.
“CFA has been working closely with the affected families and brigades of our 79 fallen members to ensure their views were included in the design and location of the new memorial,” he said.
“It is important for us to continue to honour, respect and remember those who lost their lives in the line of duty.”
“We feel Treasury Gardens is the perfect place to provide the necessary solemnity required for a memorial, while also being easily accessible for the families, brigades and broader community to pay their respects.”
CFA worked alongside EMV, City of Melbourne, Heritage Victoria and other emergency services to secure the location and concept design.
Construction of the memorial is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Once completed, the new memorial site will host some of CFA’s annual memorial services on St Florian’s Day – the Patron Saint of Firefighters.
“The annual memorial services are an important time to honour and remember the personal sacrifices those 79 firefighters gave through service to the community,” Mr Freeman said.
“This new memorial site at Treasury Gardens will be an appropriate setting for us to pay our respects,” Mr Freeman said.
The original plaques from the CFA Firefighter Memorial at Fiskville, built after the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, will be included in the new memorial site in a vault. The fallen firefighters’ names will be listed on the new memorial.
Photos by CFA's Keith Pakenham