SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum official opening

VOLUNTEER: Member for Barker Tony Pasin had the honour of unveiling the plaque alongside museum chairman Rex Hall. Photo: Laura Sneath
VOLUNTEER: Member for Barker Tony Pasin had the honour of unveiling the plaque alongside museum chairman Rex Hall. Photo: Laura Sneath

The state continues to rise from the ashes of the devastating Ash Wednesday fires, with Stage One of the SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum being officially opened in Naracoorte last Sunday.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin had the honour of unveiling the plaque alongside museum chairman Rex Hall. Mr Pasin played an instrumental role in getting this museum up and running, but he admitted that without Mr Hall's passion for the CFS, none of it would have been possible.

This opening fell on the 37th anniversary of the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires which swept across the Adelaide Hills, the South East and mid North. Bagpipes played to signify the beginning of the ceremony, where hundreds of people gathered at the Naracoorte CFS memorial.

Guest speaker and Channel Nine news reader Brenton Ragless shared some history of the event.

"The CFS is family. It fills me with great pride ... seeing the heritage committee reach your own historic milestone in preserving the incredible history," Mr Ragless said.

Hundreds of families and properties were impacted by by the Ash Wednesday fires.

"231 CFS brigades, 300 fire appliances and more than 5000 firefighters battled the infernos. Three of them, never to come home," Mr Ragless said. "That fire storm killed 28 South Australians in all; 14 in the Adelaide Hills and 14 in the South East. 312 homes gutted, close to 1000 properties impacted, almost 160,000 hectares of land, 8500 kilometres of fencing and more than 500 vehicles were destroyed."

This was the fifth annual commemoration organised by the South Australian Volunteer Firefighters Museum. Attendees were gripped with moving speeches by the CFS chief officer Mark Jones and Mr Hall.

Prior to his current role, Mr Jones had worked in emergency planning, disaster management, fire safety and training. He expressed his immense gratitude and sense of pride that Naracoorte was able to get this project off the ground and welcome everyone for this anniversary.

Mr Hall was described as the "driving force behind this project", which will continue to develop and serve as a reminder of the heroic work our volunteers do.