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Shand Mason 60 foot (18m.) Wheeled Escape Ladder
The late 1891 decision to import this ladder from England, at a cost of 85 ($10,598), was the first major upgrade of the equipment and plant of the Hobart Fire Brigade since its 29 October, 1883 creation as a statutory body.
From that date on, the Brigade’s main appliances, were those handed over to it by the former insurance companies brigades.
By then, the appliances had already been in service for many years.
To prepare for new escape ladder’s arrival, the Hobart Fire Brigade Board had to provide somewhere to house it and organise a means of transporting it to and from the fireground.
This particular escape ladder seems to have remained on the Brigade’s appliance inventory until at least 1927.
Hobart Fire Brigade
During the course of 1910, the Hobart Fire Brigade Board decided to construct a new head station building on its then 79 to 83 Argyle Street site.
The new development was to consolidate all the Brigade’s facilities onto a single central city site and enable closure of the 133 Bathurst Street Fire Bell station.
The proposed upgrade of Brigade facilities, would eventually cost £2,669.
To make way for later station extensions at 83 to 89a Argyle Street, the fire escape station was demolished in 1925.
Additional Brigade Buildings
A 5 stall horse and hay loft was completed in June 1907 at a cost of $90.
The stable building was constructed to the right of the fire escape station when viewing from Argyle Street.
The stable though was demolished in mid-1911 to make way for the construction of the new head fire station.
The image present physical fitness and training activities that took place at the rear of the building.
Fire Brigade Life
The images in the photo montage record aspects of Brigade life around the Argyle Street site before construction of the new head station building had commenced.
- Being woken up to attend a noght call inside the original fire escape station at No 83.
- Physical fitness activities which included pyramid formation to improve strength ans team bonding
- Learning the correct procedure (at the time) for picking up and carrying an unconscious body
- Siting in the Brigades carriage which was the main form of transportation for fire crew.
Hobart’s New Argyle Street Head Fire Station
In mid 1898 the Hobart Fire Brigade Board received an external report on the Brigade’s operations.
The report was wide ranging, examining all aspects of the Brigade’s operations, risk coverage, training, appliances, staffing (part paid volunteers at the time) and facilities.
The last two mentioned areas were not acted upon by the Board until 1910 and even then, only after some pressure being exerted by the Brigade’s newly appointed permanent Superintendent, Harry Trousselot.
In the staffing front, by early March 1910, the Board had appointed its first permanent firemen, who were to “give their whole time to the Board” for a wage of 2/2/4 per 6 day week.
On 13 March 1911 the Board signed a contract for 2,669 for construction of a new two storey Argyle St Head Station, in what was to become known as the “federation” style architecture.