#8 Old Fire Station Audio Script

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DW During the First World War the citizens of Mornington banded together to raise the money for their first fire station which was ready for use in 1919. We asked Fire Brigade member Mick Taylor/ Colin Fisher to tell us about fighting fires in Mornington.
MT/CF Before 1919 neighbours depended on each other for help whenever fires broke out. With so many wooden buildings in the township, this happened quite a lot. You’ve already heard about The Grand Hotel fire in 1890, a few months after it was built. And in 1893 a newspaper reported: KW The original Tanti Hotel has burned to the ground. Proprietors the Dugan family escaped.
MT/CF When a fire started, the bells at St. Peter’s Church and the Methodist Church would ring ac- cording to a predetermined plan. As an example, Two rings would indicate fire to the south of the township, and east of Main Street…. and so on.
The first fire pumps were pulled by the firemen themselves and stored in the Livery Stables further down the street before they were adapted to be pulled by a horse. The original equipment at Morn- ington was on loan from the Frankston and Mortlake Fire Brigades.
The fire brigade building was designed by Melbourne and Mornington architect L.J. Flanagan and built by local builder Thomas Green. After the grand opening in September 1920, the Country Fire Brigade adopted the design of the Mornington station as the standard for subsequent country fire sta- tions.
The building where the narrow shop is now on the left has replaced an alleyway which led up to the bell tower at the rear. False alarms must have been rung, as an item in The Peninsula Post announced: KW Persons ringing the fire bell in a spirit of mischief and causing a false alarm will be heavily fined.
MT/CF The Fire Brigade also used Mornington Park for training drills. The bitumen runway and the tower can still be seen. This is where regular competitions were organised, and brigade teams came from all over Victoria to compete to maintain critical skill levels. The brigade still competes against other brigades in towns across the state, and so continues an activity that started with the brigade’s first competition in 1922.
DW The fire brigade remained in this building until 1969. After 30 years in a building further up Main Street, they are now based in their third home on the Nepean Highway.
The next information panel is inside 115 Main Street Cafe just near the front window. If you ask you will be able to access the QR section. It might even be time for a coffee.
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