Mural reflects firefighting history and development

Hillcrest Fire Brigade recently took part in a community mural project to create a public exhibition, celebrating the history and development of the district.


Credit: Hillcrest Fire Brigade Captain Fiona Burns

The Woori Community House (WCH) and community members recently unveiled new murals at Woori Yallock Railway Station. The community has designed and installed a collection of community photo panels at the former railway station along the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trial.

The panels are formed as ‘carriages’ in a steam engine and display different community groups' history. Members of the public can view the murals which include a panel from Hillcrest brigade.

The official opening of the display was on 22 March. Hillcrest brigade’s panel reads ‘Sponsored by members of Hillcrest Fire Brigade’ and reflects the history and the development of the brigade.

Credit: Hillcrest Fire Brigade Captain Fiona Burns

Woori Yallock and Launching Place brigades were the original two brigades in the district, formed over 76 years ago. In 2007 the brigades decided to amalgamate and become Hillcrest Fire Brigade.

Hillcrest brigade Captain Fiona Burns said Hillcrest brigade has more than 76 years of history with the community so it was important for them to be involved.

“The local community groups organised this project and we were happy to be involved,” Fiona said. “Members of the public often visit the trail and now they can learn about the history of the area as well.”

Hillcrest brigade’s panel consists of five photos chosen by Lieutenant Andrew Smith and Firefighter Rick Shaw. The image in the centre of the panel is the new station that was opened in May 2014 (taken by Jes Curgenven).

One of the images is an original old photo of brigade members and next to that is an image of the original Austin fire trucks. The panel also includes an image of the brigade doing gas prop training.

“As you can see in the top left image there are two members, one in the old structure jacket with a beater and the old-fashioned knapsack. The other one is of the girls in the new wildfire gear,” Fiona said.

“Not only does this show the brigade's history but it also shows the public just how far we have come - not just in uniforms and equipment but also in diversity.

“It was a really important message for us to say 'look, this is the brigade historically but this is the brigade today, and they are quite different',” Fiona said. “We now have a female captain and almost 50 per cent of the members are women.

“This panel is a great opportunity to show the public the modern brigade we are today and to show that equality is important to us.” 

Credit: Hillcrest Fire Brigade Captain Fiona Burns

Author: Holly Penketh