This presentation will show you how this site is being used as at September 2019.
The Central Store probably operated from the early 1950s and consisted of two adjoining buildings:
- a steel-framed Quonset building clad in corrugated iron; set on a concrete slab measuring 100 feet x 41 feet. Two large steel corrugated iron clad sliding doors were installed at both ends of the building. Building No.1 also included an office which supported the operations for both buildings.
- a prefabricated building purchased from Armco in the early 1950s. It had a steel portal frame construction and was 105 feet x 40 feet; set on a concrete slab with a corrugated iron roof and cladding. The building was equipped with two steel roller shutter doors. (See Fig 6)
Both buildings housed a wide range of stores for requisition by field and workshop staff, including tractor and fire pump spares, hose couplings, and camping equipment that was despatched during emergency fire periods.
This facility ceased operation in 1993. The two buildings were removed from the site, and the stores function was transferred to what was originally the Lands Department store in Maribyrnong.
Fire Protection Workshop
The original asbestos-clad workshop, which probably began operating in the early 1950s, had a floor space of about 1000m2 and consisted of a general office, a main workshop, hose room, electrical room, tool room, welding shop, spray paint booth and two internal garages.
In 1957 ED Gill, who was then the Assistant Fire Protection Officer with the FCV, prepared a publication presented to The Seventh British Commonwealth Forestry Conference in England. A chapter entitled ‘The Selection and Development of Fire Fighting Equipment’, detailed the rationale for the fire equipment purchased, developed and evaluated at the workshop
During the 1960s and 1970s the Workshop played a key role in fire tanker assembly, and the repair and maintenance of all FCV fire pumps, hose and ancillary equipment. In 1985 it was decided that the Workshop would, in future, place a greater emphasis on research and development, and that the existing fabrication and maintenance roles would be wound down. The facility became known as the Fire Equipment Development Centre. (see below).
Additional facilities were constructed in the 1980s and 1990s, including:
- a fuel store for oils, cleaning solvents and fuel was constructed in the early 1980s. Diesel and petrol bowsers, which were originally located next to the Central Store buildings, were removed.
- a cleaning-bay for fire tankers, pumps and associated vehicles and equipment. (Fig 29)
- an incendiary store for securing fire-related ignition equipment - including Delayed Action Incendiary Devices (DAIDS), Gun Operated Flamers (GOFs), blivets, incendiary capsules and ‘Fusee’ matches. (Fig 32)
- a small radio laboratory.
Fire Equipment Development Centre
The Fire Equipment Development Centre was still in operation at the time this article was created and it included:
- two Fire Cache buildings housing a vast range of fire equipment and associated spares, camping equipment, bottled water, pump and plumbing equipment plus many additional items to service the current regional work centres' needs.
- an aviation rappel tower for the training of departmental rappel crews.
- a large well-appointed workshop facility.
- containerised camping equipment, which had been introduced in the mid-2000 era, and are an initial requirement during fire emergency periods.
By 2000 all the original structures on the site, including the asbestos-clad Fire Protection Workshop, had been replaced with new standardised green Colorbond buildings.
In summary, the site has undergone significant upgrade over the past fifty years - and of course it should have. These days it is a far cry from what I remember when I first visited the site in the late 1960s - a somewhat decrepit, over-grown thistle and grass covered property, with broken down fencing and scattered building materials.