Establishment of the memorial
Career and volunteer firefighters have contributed to the protection and
safety of the Western Australian (WA) community for over 115 years.
As the community of WA has prospered and developed, the need for fire and
emergency services has grown not only in the Perth metropolitan area but in all
regions across the state.
On 23 July 2000, the Firefighters’ Memorial Grove in Kings Park was unveiled
to celebrate the centenary of fire services in WA and honour the contribution of
career and volunteer firefighters in protecting our State.
Occupying a prestigious area of Kings Park on Forrest Drive, the memorial
included a granite arc representing the base of a burnt out tree and a ten tonne
rock symbolising a flame, which reflects the impact and role of fire.
Revitalisation of the memorial
On 10 May 2013, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) held an
inaugural memorial service to mark International Firefighter’s Day - a day to
thank all firefighters for their extraordinary commitment, exceptional courage
and selfless community service. The day was also to remember and honour
firefighters who have died during the course of duty.
At this event, the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson APM
reflected on the strong collegiate bonds between all firefighters and voiced his
desire to enrich the memorial with the addition of a firefighter statue.
Given the contribution of firefighters, both past and present, and those who
have passed, the addition of a firefighter statue was considered to be a fitting
tribute and a poignant mark of respect to acknowledge those who have sacrificed
their own lives for the WA community.
Many others shared this vision and with the support of the Botanic Gardens
and Parks Authority, the Department of Parks and Wildlife, the United
Firefighters’ Union, the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association and the
Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades, a fitting enhancement to the
Firefighters’ Memorial Grove has been achieved.
The memorial now includes an impressive life size bronze casting of two
firefighters, a low granite wall containing a commemorative script and a
landscaped pathway, which combines to create a connection between the existing
and new elements within the Grove.
In revitalising this special place within Kings Park, a design team worked
closely with the artist Jon Tarry and landscape architect David Smith, who
expertly guided the design process, uniquely melding the elements of loss and
vigilance, to produce a stunning addition to this, the most important of places.
On International Firefighters Day, 4 May 2014, the firefighter statues were
unveiled by the Premier of Western Australia the Honourable Colin Barnett MLA,
the Minister for Emergency Services the Honourable Joe Francis MLA and the Fire
and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson APM.
The statues show a firefighter kneeling on the ground, holding the helmet of
a fallen firefighter. His head is bowed in mourning with the hand of his
firefighting companion placed on his shoulder symbolising comfort, support and
an unspoken understanding.
Whilst providing this support, the firefighter continues to look out to the
fire front, weary but accepting and ready for what may yet confront them.
The purpose of the two statues is not only to recognise the contribution of
all firefighters both past and present, but also to display the deep respect and
gratitude that the community holds for them.
The statues also represent the respect and admiration that firefighters hold
for each other, specifically the support that they provide each other while
facing some of the most challenging and hazardous environments.
May the Firefighters’ Memorial Grove become a place of contemplation, a place
to reflect on cherished memories and a place that celebrates the ongoing
dedication of our valued firefighters now and into the future.