A freelance writer new to Perth. Katie has written articles about her hometown in the UK for five years and is keen to see how Perth compares
Published March 24th 2012
The fire station museum and FESA (Fire and Emergency Services Authority) safety education centre on Murray Street is something of a hidden gem. Tucked between the main city centre and the Royal Perth Hospital, I stumbled across it by chance. Although I consider it to be the kind of place I would recommend is best suited for children and older generations, I'm still glad that I came across it.
For history buffs, those interested in restoring old vehicles, and anyone with an interest in the fire service, the lower level of the old fire station is the place for you. The exhibits guide you through the workings of the old firehouse (being situated inside it) right back to the times of when the volunteer service used horses (the old stable doors can still be seen on the inside).
There are three fully restored vehicles at the museum; a 1924 T model Ford - Light Pumper, a Ford 350 Emergency Tender and a 1959 Dennis F8 Medium Pumper, which have been restored entirely by volunteers. Due to the fragile nature of these exhibits, unfortunately children can't climb on them, but there is a hands-on section to keep young ones entertained, in the form of a dressing up corner. Helmets, gas masks and various uniforms can be found here, and of course a large mirror for admiring one's self as a fire fighter (being the professional that I am, I road tested this section for the purposes of this article, and must say that their range of fancy dress is most interesting).
As well as display cabinets housing artefacts such as old extinguishers and small items of equipment in the main room, there is also a second, smaller, room on the ground floor in which more thorough information on the history of Perth's fire service can be found. There's a short video clip, some old parade helmets, uniforms and old, clunky-looking breathing apparatus sets. The part I found most interesting and surprising, however, was photos and tales from the days the service used horses instead of vehicles. I imagine this room would be a little mundane for children, unlike the interactive displays upstairs.
The upper level is the FESA safety education centre, which is much more geared towards the needs of children. First of all there is a room of interactive question and answer screens, then a room of books, puzzles and leaflets giving advice on fire safety for children, leading onto a room of more exciting and impressive displays.
This larger room is divided into sections about earthquakes, cyclones, bush fires and tsunamis. Interactive displays include a living room in the midst of an earthquake and an obstacle course to plan your escape route in case of a fire, a small climbing wall with activities to help decide which items you would carrying in your backpack during an emergency and puzzles to identify hazards in the picture. There is also a display where children can create a miniature tsunami.
Overall, the museum offers a variety of activities for a variety of ages. Whilst it's perhaps not somewhere I would recommend for teenagers (it may come across as a little dull or patronising to this age group) it is somewhere suitable for families and very educational for children.
My father use to belong to the guildford fire brigade and we just found an old jacket his. Would the museum like to have it? I think he was a volunteer and I know he went away with the brigade and they won medals in the Easten states.
Hi Katie. I am the event organizer for Western Australia's own little Tank Engine day, to be held at Whiteman Park on Sunday 25th May, 9.30am to 4.00pm. Tickets are $15 each, (under 2 free) and include unlimited all day rides on our historic trains and vintage buses. We even have our own train controller. You can view previous events at bennettbrookrailway.org.au and click on events.
Thank you, Ken Watson, event organizer. 0422-158-281