Darlinghurst’s lovely old fire station

I couldn’t help but hum Paul Kelly’s “Darling It Hurts” almost constantly while walking around Darlinghurst on our short break in Sydney. Likewise “From St Kilda To Kings Cross” came to mind when in the Cross, and Australian Crawl’s “Restless” when catching sight of the Manly Ferry and Circular Quay.

In the middle of Darlinghurst, still in use, is the fire station, a lovely old building built in 1910. In Melbourne a lot of these old fire stations have been re-purposed as flats, or are in use by the fire brigade, but with a more modern building next door for actually parking the fire engines — which over the years I suspect have grown too big for some of the old facilities.

In Darlinghurst though they still seem to use the original buildings. The fire fighters stand in the road to stop traffic while they back their vehicles in when returning from jobs.

On Sundays however a sign (reminiscent of Victoria’s ambulance dispute) is on display saying that the station is closed due to budget cuts. ‘Cos fires don’t happen on Sundays, right?

Sydney: a fire engine being backed into the Darlinghurst fire station

Sydney: Darlinghurst fire station

Sydney: Darlinghurst fire station: closed on Sundays

Does the MFB/CFA boundary need revising?

The Victorian Government is pushing ahead with reform in emergency and disaster management.

I can’t say I know a lot about it, but one reform that I’ve long thought they should consider is a re-drawing of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade/Country Fire Authority boundaries.

They simply don’t make sense. The CFA covers large areas of outer-suburban Melbourne, including Springvale, Dandenong and Frankston. It’s as if the boundaries were set 50 years ago and not updated since:

CFA/MFB boundary

(Source)

My understanding is that — in contrast to “typical” regional CFA stations staffed by volunteers, the suburban stations are run similar to the MFB, with largely paid workforces.

Surely it would make sense to reform the boundaries, and bring all urban fire fighters and facilities under the MFB, with the CFA specialising in regional non-urban areas, and training and equipping their volunteers?

Or is that all too simplistic?

The other one that’s similar is the metropolitan taxi zone; some parts of Melbourne are off in a separate zone, which apparently makes life difficult for some. We might find out if this is set to change when the Taxi Industry Inquiry report is released by the government — expected later today. The draft report did talk about zone reform.