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The Aboriginal Advancement Team at DFES have just won an award for their Kaarla Artwork Project in the South West of Western Australia, and the second chapter of this project was recently unveiled in Kalgoorlie.
Both designs were based on custom artwork from young local aboriginal artists and are part of a broader collaboration and engagement program in the community. 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.
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.
Kurrawang Elder Uncle Aubrey Lynch, along with Elder Uncle George Hayden, has welcomed the partnership with DFES.
“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.”
Founder of Flashover with a 17 year career with a couple of fire agencies. I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic.