The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has unveiled 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 and Ngadju Ngadju people.
Kurrawang Elder Uncle Aubrey Lynch, along with Ngadju Ngadju 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.
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.
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.