Balclutha Antique Firefighting Equipment Society has moved into its new, 180sq m display facility, next door to the newly refurbished district fire station to add another feature to Clutha’s list of attractions.
‘‘When restrictions ease up we’ll have an open day for the collection and the station,’’ restorer Fraser Bunting said.
The big appliances were moved from storage space at Balclutha’s old hospital on Waitangi Day but there is more valuable gear to join the enviable collection.
The next plans are to put up a sign and sponsor board to acknowledge those who contributed to the project financially or with materials, time or labour.
Construction was supervised by builder and society chairman, Daniel Roxburgh. ‘‘Gear like this is rare and highly sought after. Years ago, some brass helmets were lent out and never came back, and we have a 1954 Dennis appliance out on loan at Dunedin Settlers Museum [Toitu] which they’d be pretty keen to hang on to,’’ Mr Roxburgh said, laughing.
The society is looking forward to the day when visitors to I›Site and a completed Community Hub will be directed to their collection, and members are discussing plans for scheduled monthly open days and potentially a caretaker›curator on site to guide interested parties at other times.
Justin Shanks has been a volunteer firefighter for 20 years. ‘‘This has been a dream for a lot of guys for a lot of years,’’ he said. ‘‘Now it’s all come together.’’