Aboriginal fire truck paintings ‘a symbol of unity’ in Kalgoorlie
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will today unveil fire trucks in Kalgoorlie showcasing Aboriginal artwork as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Painted by a local 19-year-old artist, the Waru Artwork fire appliances are a symbol of unity and shared values between firefighters and the Kurrawang people.
Kurrawang Elder Uncle Aubrey Lynch, along with Elder Uncle George Hayden, has welcomed the partnership with DFES.
Mr Lynch said having Aboriginal artwork on fire trucks was symbolically important, and was part of the healing process after some unsettling times for the people of Kalgoorlie.
“The artwork is something that people can see right away that it belongs to us too, and that’s where the sense of pride and ownership comes from,” Mr Lynch said.
“We welcomed the DFES partnership because we share a love and understanding of how to manage fire and how it works.”
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the artwork initiative provided a fantastic opportunity to collaborate closely with the local Aboriginal community.
“This project has provided an invaluable opportunity to gain a greater understanding and awareness of the local Aboriginal culture, and to start a conversation about bushfire preparedness and prevention,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“There is huge potential for us to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that exists within Aboriginal communities, who treat fire more as a tool than a threat.
“It’s also a great opportunity to engage with Aboriginal youth to discuss volunteering and employment opportunities in emergency services, which is essential if we are to attract a workforce that reflects the diversity of our local communities.”
The two Kalgoorlie based vehicles – an urban pump and a District Officer’s vehicle – are decorated with images of natural flora and fauna of Wongatha Country – something local Aboriginal people can identify with instantly.
The vehicles will be driven through the Kurrawang community, halfway between Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, following the official unveiling today.
The collaborative project has been led by DFES’ Aboriginal Advancement Unit and Aboriginal Community Elders in Kalgoorlie.
It follows the success of the Kaarla Artwork project in Bunbury last year, and forms part of an ongoing initiative that will be rolled out across other regions in coming years.
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543.