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Smoking ceremony and turning of the sod prepares Centre of Excellence site
Thursday 30 January 2020 – 3:00 PM

​The impending construction of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence (BCoE) facility scheduled to start in February 2020 has been celebrated with a traditional smoking ceremony and turning of the sod. 

Attendees included Western Australian Premier Hon. Mark McGowan MLA, Minister for Emergency Services Hon. Francis Logan MLA, Minister for Local Government Hon. David Templeman MLA, Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM and Member for Murray-Wellington Mrs. Robyn Clarke MLA. 

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Executive Director Rural Fire Division Murray Carter said the occasion was an exciting milestone for the project. 

“The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will be the focal point for research, knowledge sharing, training and collaboration in bushfire management for the entire State,” Executive Director Carter said. 

“Workshops, seminars and training taking place here will be accessible to emergency services volunteers, local governments and state government agencies.

“I would like to thank the Bindjareb Community for preparing the site with a traditional smoking ceremony and for their presence, support and input throughout the Centre’s journey to date which has been integral to the building’s unique design.

“The significant Indigenous Australian relationship with fire has been captured in both the building design and program development of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence.” 

The building will consist of an administration wing and a training wing linking off opposite sides of a central foyer to form a boomerang shape. 

The central foyer will include curved natural rammed earth walls and high raking ceilings, with the curved walls resembling a river mouth and the roof representing a traditional humpy shelter. 

Designed as a public entrance and education space, the foyer will feature an interpretive learning centre, library, shared meeting spaces and reception area. 

Interpretative information throughout the building and landscaped areas will provide detail on traditional fire practices, as well as contemporary fire management.

The training wing will include a central breakout and meeting space, three large training rooms with operable walls and a series of smaller training rooms with capacity to support training in virtual reality and bushfire management systems and software. 

In addition to a shared meeting room, first aid room and kitchen, a change room facility in the training wing will cater for up to 100 training participants and visitors. 

Internal spaces will interconnect with the outdoors through a variety of meeting places surrounding the exterior of the building and within the landscape. 

This includes paved courtyards accessible from both wings, a lounging and dining space at the rear of the central foyer, a large outdoor auditorium, yarning circle and fire pit. 

Pathways will link all of these spaces to lead visitors throughout the grounds which will be planted to reflect fire design guidelines, indigenous and local heritage, local vegetation and the greater landform and water systems of the region. 

The design of the building was developed by a multi-stakeholder design working group including representatives from the local Bindjareb Community, Shire of Murray, volunteer associations and Parks and Wildlife Service. 

To ensure a fair and equitable process, the construction contract was advertised on the Tenders WA website and has been awarded to Bunbury based company, Perkins. 

The BCoE team is operating from the Pinjarra Heritage Train Station until the completion of the building, scheduled for December 2020. 

They are currently reviewing, developing and delivering planned fire training programs that will be available for personnel responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing planned burns, including volunteer and career firefighters.

Twenty-two training courses have already been delivered or scheduled for this financial year ranging from Bushfire Safety Awareness and Firefighting Skills, Introduction to Planned Burning and Advanced Bushfire Management.

To view all BCoE concept images and for more information visit dfes.wa.gov.au/bushfirecoe​