New Orange Regional Museum exhibition explores history of local fire brigade

Orange Council

An exhibition exploring the fascinating history of our local fire brigade will open at Orange Regional Museum on Friday 1 March.

Formed in 1869 after a fire gutted the Nelson Bros warehouse on Byng Street, the Orange Volunteer Fire Brigade, today known as Fire and Rescue NSW Station 412 Orange, has a long tradition of serving the community and saving lives.

Orange 412: A history of our local Fire Brigade features 50 stunning photographic prints, rare documents relating to the origins of the brigade, historical and contemporary firefighting equipment and uniforms, and playful interactives for young ones and the young at heart.

Orange City Council’s Services Policy Committee Chair, Cr Mel McDonell, said the exhibition was jam-packed with historical material and hands-on activities.

“This incredible exhibition gives a fascinating insight into more than 150 years of firefighting services in Orange and the lives of the men and women who gave their time to serve on the brigade and protect the community,” Cr McDonell said.

Curated and produced by Orange Regional Museum in collaboration with Fire and Rescue NSW and the Museum of Fire, Orange 412: A history of our local Fire Brigade delves into the formation of the brigade, station life and communications technology as well as championship competitions, firefighting equipment, fire and rescue and community engagement.

Highlights include the Orange Municipal Council’s Minutes Book with the first mention of a fire brigade in December 1868, a reproduction of an 1870 manuscript featuring the signatures of the brigade’s first volunteer members, the original 1872 bell from the Anson Street Fire

Station and a hand-drawn hose reel complete with hose, brass nozzle, standpipe and extinguisher.

The family-friendly exhibition also includes children’s dress-ups, playful storytelling and an interactive fire truck, while adults will also enjoy the large-scale graphics and audio and video content.

Members of the community are invited to attend the official opening of Orange 412: A history of our local Fire Brigade at 6pm on Friday 1 March and join exhibition curator Mary-Liz Andrews for ‘Curator Conversations’, a floor talk about the new exhibition at 10am the following day, Saturday 2 March.

Both are free and open to everyone. Bookings are essential via Eventbrite.

Orange 412: A history of our local Fire Brigade will run until 21 July, 2024.

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