Restoration society rescued

Doug Hall (right, rear), the owner of Hall Brothers Transport Ltd, helps Dunedin Fire Brigade...
Doug Hall (right, rear), the owner of Hall Brothers Transport Ltd, helps Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society committee members (from left) Kerry McNamara, Gary Byford and John Ingram move a 19th-century "wheel of escape" ladder into its new home this week. Photos by Linda Robertson.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Dunedin transport firm owner Doug Hall has stepped in, effectively, to save the Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society by providing crucial storage and workshop space at Burnside, shortly before the society had to quit its previous premises.

This week was the deadline for the society to leave its previous Green Island premises, which had been leased by the Dunedin City Council, which also owns the Otago Settlers Museum.

Historic Dunedin fire engines have found a new home.
Historic Dunedin fire engines have found a new home.
The Green Island building had been used jointly by the society and the museum for more than a decade to store historic fire engines and many museum artefacts.

Some museum artefacts are being safeguarded at another off-site area, and the museum stopped using the Green Island facility last year.

The society had earlier hoped to use some space at the museum's latest off-site area, but this had not proved possible, society organisers said.

In recent years, thousands of people have enjoyed watching the society's old fire engines taking part in community displays and parades.

The last two fire appliances were moved to their new home in the Burnside area earlier this week.

Mr Hall, who owns Halls Brothers Transport Ltd and property firm Anzide Properties Ltd, said he had been concerned the society's restoration efforts on behalf of the community would be harmed if no suitable new premises were found.

Space had been made available through Anzide Properties and he hoped some notable old agricultural equipment and the fire engines could eventually be jointly displayed to the public.

Society secretary John Ingram said society members had in recent years become increasingly anxious about finding a suitable site where the society's historic engines could all be safeguarded.

"We're exceedingly grateful that Doug Hall has basically secured the future of our group," Mr Ingram said this week.

The society is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and the Dunedin Fire Brigade is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month, from March 11 to 13.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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