Retired Port Macquarie firefighters are on a mission to restore and house one of the largest public collections of firefighting equipment in the state.
Mid North Coast Fire Equipment Restoration group are collecting items for display, which are set to be on exhibition within a year in Port Macquarie.
The collection already houses two Dennis Ace fire engines from the 1930s, carts, hoses and fire brigade memorabilia from the former Port Macquarie Fire Station.
Former deputy captain at Port Macquarie Fire Station, Don Davidson said he has spent $130,000 on a purpose built shed to host the collection.
Firefighting has been a huge part of Mr Davidson's life.
"My father in law was a firefighter in Port Macquarie, so it's a family tradition," he said.
"The MNC Fire Equipment Restoration group envisage the facility will be a place to share experiences, knowledge, skills and later to share and educate friends and visitors.
Group members hope to get support from the wider community and government bodies, to back restoration processes needed to restore some of the equipment.
"A lot of firefighting history in the Hastings has been lost and we are trying to gather the remainder to preserve it," Mr Davidson said.
Mr Davidson was a firefighter from 1988 to 2014 and is one of 12 members of the group. His former captain at the Port Macquarie Fire Station is Ross Hoy, who served from 1970 to 1996.
"People have come from everywhere to donate items to the display. Really the collection belongs to the town and now is the time to showcase it," said Mr Hoy.
"The only other museum like this is in Penrith at the Museum Of Fire. Although there is one happening in Tamworth with fire engines and old trucks.
"Port Macquarie was at the stage where it was going to lose its history. There are a number of private collectors purchasing items like this online, so there are more historic items being lost from public display."
Albert "Mate" McWhirter was the last of 10 original members who established the original brigade in Port Macquarie in 1957. He passed away aged 84 on September 5, 2018.
Retired Wauchope Fire Station captain Brian Smith, who served from 1977 to 2015, said the group is calling for current and retired firefighters to join the cause.
"Younger generations don't see this history anymore. Items have been hidden away in boxes and we'd like to get out and display it to the public," he said.
"The Dennis Ace fire engine is used in the Christmas parade to ferry Santa each year and is well received by the community. These older historical items are important because once they're gone, they're gone forever."
Members of the public are invited to donate fire fighting memorabilia for display.
For more information, or to join the MNC Fire Equipment Restoration group, contact Don Davidson on 0477 225 705.
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