The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has unveiled the State’s first fire truck decorated with Noongar artwork, carrying the important message that “Caring for Country” is a shared responsibility.
This collaborative project between DFES and Bunbury Aboriginal Community Elders showcases the work of nineteen-year-old local artist Stephen Taylor and features Wardandi Country bushland and Noongar language on three Bunbury based DFES vehicles.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the project had been a fantastic relationship building opportunity.
“This project has provided an invaluable opportunity to gain a greater understanding and awareness of the local Aboriginal culture, and start a conversation about bushfire preparedness and prevention,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“It also presents opportunities to engage with Aboriginal youth to discuss volunteering and employment opportunities in emergency services. This is essential if we are to attract a workforce that reflects the diversities of our local communities.
“There is enormous potential for us to benefit from the wealth of knowledge that exists within the cultural practices of Aboriginal communities, who treat fire more as a tool than a threat.”
Bunbury Community Elder Uncle Dennis Jetta said the success of the project came down to collaboration and recognition of Aboriginal cultural protocol.
“We were really excited when DFES came to us with the initial concept, and from there it’s been fantastic to work closely with, and build a collaborative relationship with DFES,” Mr Jetta said.
“The opportunity for Elders to identify and select an artist was a great opportunity for a number of Aboriginal artists to present their interpretation of Country.”
The launch leads into NAIDOC Week celebrations being held from 8 to 15 July.
For more information about DFES community initiatives visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au