A project called Stories of the Station will capture the heritage and history behind the former CBD fire station as it begins its transformation into an arts, culture and wellbeing precinct.
Bridges Health and Community Care have purchased the building and are working to record some of the stories of the station through the oral history project.
Through an RADF grant, Bridges have been able to contract the services of oral historian Ross Peddlesden and photographer Selina Ferrais to record an initial 10 stories of current and former fire station staff and board members.
“We want to keep the history of the building alive as we move towards evolving the former fire station into an arts, culture and wellbeing precinct for the whole community,” Bridges CEO Sharon Sarah said.
“Our goal is to honour the people and the place that are an important part of the fabric of our city.”
Bridges is known for delivering quality mental health services across the Wide Bay, Burnett and Central Queensland over the last 26 years.
Now the organisation is extending its programs to include arts and cultural-led wellbeing that aims to improve the health of the community through social connection and inclusion.
Bridges is currently seeking funding to renovate the building, respecting its architecture and history, whilst building programs and projects that will roll out onsite and through outreach programs.
Stories of the Station is the start of capturing the heritage.
On Tuesday 4 April, a morning tea will be held with participants and partners to launch two temporary signs that will include a short history of the fire service and building, along with QR codes linking to the first five of 10 stories that will be released.
Once the building is open to the public, these stories will be included within the building itself as part of a larger site interpretation project.
Ross Peddlesden said it had been a privilege to have men who have served their community for decades share their stories.
“I've loved hearing about the teamwork and mutual care that they shared and the family atmosphere that existed among the team,” he said.
“I've been fascinated by their differing paths to the job and their dedication to it.
“They are a special group.”
Soon Bridges will be launching a Friends of the Fire Station Facebook Group where people can continue to share stories and follow updates on the progress of developing the precinct.
“We encourage the community to join us on our journey of creating this space for the community to come together, with workshop and performance spaces, a café, studio, residency and training programs all part of the mix,” Sharon said.
This is a project of Bridges Health and Community Care with support from RADF.
The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.
Bridges thanks the local Queensland Fire and Emergency Services team for their support of this project and to Picture Bundaberg and the State Library of Queensland.