STA caught up with the volunteers at the Oaks Historical Society  at the Wollondilly Heritage Centre to talk about the upcoming exhibition HOPE Out of the Ashes. The exhibition highlights to role of the Rural Fire Service in the history of the Wollondilly region and also explore the impacts of the recent fires on the community. 

The Oaks Historical Society is presenting a new display at the Wollondilly Heritage Centre & Museum which documents the development of the local volunteers fire brigades from farmers fighting fires with basic equipment to the present methods used to fight the Green Wattle Creek fires which so badly affected our Shire.

Because of the pandemic it was not possible to talk to all the people we wanted but we were fortunate that a local farmer could share his knowledge and his collection of memorabilia which his family had kept in his shed. A retired sign writer painted a mural for the display which provided a background for a simple timeline of each brigade’s history displayed on little red fire engines. A local photographer also contributed excellent images for the display and historic footage was sourced from Sydney Water Board. The exhibition and catalogue will be a valuable memorial to the bravery of our volunteers and all those who have kept our communities safe for so many years. We are adding oral recordings to the archive which we hope to add to our website in time.

Come and see it any weekend between 10am and 3.00pm. Follow the Wollondilly Heritage Centre on Facebook or check out their website or email for more information. 

The Museum has a large collection and many permanent exhibitions.  It is well worth putting aside a day to go and check it all out. 

Lakesland Farmer, Evald Alp setting off to attend a fire in 1945 ©John Fergusson
Sydney Water Board rangers setting up for a fire in Bargo 1950c ©Sydney Water
Fixed wing aircraft dropping water on Wattle Creek Fire in to Buxton December 2019 ©Peter B Photography

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