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Byron Shire
October 6, 2022

Honouring firies on International Firefighters Day

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Cudgen’s Cat 7 truck at a staging area off the Pacific Highway in heavy smoke at the Myall Creek fire. PhotoDamian Bray.

The recent fire season is one that will not be forgotten quickly. The stories and images that remain after the smoke cleared, will take a place in history as both a reminder and a cautionary tale.

The Tweed Regional Museum is honouring the work of local firefighters on International Firefighters Day – next Monday, 4 May 2020.

The Museum has added images from the 2019-2020 bushfire season to its rich collection documenting Tweed history and heritage. A selection of the images will be shared online via its social media pages.

International Firefighters Day recognises the efforts and dedication of firefighters around the world and celebrates the work they do to keep communities safe.

Good times, not so good times, people, places and events

Museum Director Judy Kean says the collection documents the good times, the not so good times and the many people, and the places and events that shape the Tweed.

‘We are really pleased to have been able to honour the work of local firefighters by adding a new collection of photographs from the Cudgen Rural Fire Brigade to our collection.

‘These photographs are a first-hand record of the 2019-2020 fire season; one of the worst on record and it’s important that images such as these are available for future generations to look back on.’

Photographs taken by firefighters

Cudgen brigade members Hannah Jacob and Madison Middlebrook exhausted after a 12-hour shift at the Myall Creek fire. Photo Damian Bray.

More than 70 photographs taken by Cudgen Brigade Captain Troy Middlebrook and firefighter Damian Bray capture the hard work and dedication of the brigade and Far North Coast strike teams as they fight fires in the Northern Rivers at Myall Creek, Busby Flat and in the Bega Valley.

‘It’s great to see the Museum acquiring these pictures,’ Mr Middlebrook said. ‘It’s like a large photo album being collated that allows all of us to live that small moment in time and witness people in our community acting selflessly for the betterment of others.

‘I think it’s fantastic that these memories are being safeguarded for the generations that follow.’

Tweed Mayor Councillor Katie Milne acknowledged the significant impact the fires had on our local community, particularly those in the south-west of our shire, and the important work of the museum in documenting these historic and heroic moments.

The enormity of the contribution made by firefighters

‘Hopefully, people look at these powerful and moving photos and see the enormity of the contribution made by these firefighters and understand that members of this community volunteered their time, left their families and employment and put their lives on the line to assist not only our community but thousands of other Australians that needed their help,’ said Cr Milne.

‘The Museum is also working to document what we are all going through now during our current challenge – living with COVID-19.  As terrible as they are, these disasters are significant in highlighting and bringing out the best in our community.

‘These extraordinary acts of selflessness, generosity and bravery leave a lasting legacy that shapes the very foundations of what makes our community spirit so beautiful.’

Working towards Together Tweed, the Museum team invites the community to stay connected with local history by viewing the firefighting images on its social media pages while its doors remain closed.

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