A PLAN 18 years in the making will finally come to fruition on February 16, when the SA Volunteer Fire Fighters Museum officially opens in Naracoorte.
The museum, which is in the final stages of construction, is on Kingston Avenue at the same site as the Volunteer Fire Fighters memorial.
Museum chairman Rex Hall said the precinct would celebrate and commemorate volunteer firefighters, as well as all volunteers within regional communities.
Mr Hall himself started as a volunteer firefighter at One Tree Hill in 1960 and has been a volunteer ever since, also donating his time to the Willalooka and Naracoorte brigades, fulfilling deputy group officer duties, before turning to the communications and operations side of the service.
"I've been a volunteer for close to 60 years and have created many friendships along the way," he said.
"The last few months in particular have really highlighted the importance of volunteer firefighters, with a lot of fires happening Australia-wide."
Memorabilia on display will include 20 firefighting trucks of various ages, uniforms, badges, fire beaters and old archives.
"Hopefully it will have memorabilia of the last 100 years of volunteer firefighting," Mr Hall said.
"This is not just for CFS volunteers, but hopefully schoolchildren and future generations will be able to see what firefighting is like and where we've come from."
"We've come a long way - an example is the call out system.
"One of the early ones we've got is a piece of steel that used to hang under a tank stand and you'd hit the stand with it. We went from that to sirens and now to pagers."
The last few months in particular have really highlighted the importance of volunteer firefighters, with a lot of fires happening Australia-wide.- Rex Hall
Mr Hall said the idea for the museum was first floated 18 years ago after travelling to New Zealand for a volunteer conference.
"We went to a number of places including Ashburton, which was a brigade just out of Christchurch who had a great display of memorabilia and history," he said.
"Although this has been an 18-year journey, a lot has been happening along the way. The museum committee was also instrumental in getting a volunteer service badge approved."
A memorial wall, to recognise volunteer firefighters who have lost their lives during service, was built at the Naracoorte site in 2016.
While Mr Hall said it would be rewarding to get the museum up and running after 18 years, there were already plans to add an extra building when funding was available.
The museum opening will be held at 10am on Sunday, February 16, the 37th anniversary of Ash Wednesday.
A wreath will be laid at the memorial prior to the opening.
Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Click here to sign up to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.