Fire museum starts to take shape

Fire museum starts to take shape

9 August 2009

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Australia — Victoria is expected to get a bushfire museum to commemorate the Black Saturday fires after the State Government threw its weight behind an idea first canvassed by The Sunday Age.

Advertising mogul Harold Mitchell, a resident of St Andrews and former president of the Museum Board of Victoria, is believed to have been appointed to head a taskforce to work out the configuration and location of the museum.

It is understood the taskforce, overseen by the Premier’s department and Arts Minister Lynne Kosky, has been working on the project for a number of weeks. It is also developing plans for up to 70 bushfire memorials in affected communities.

A State Government spokesman said the idea of a bushfire museum, which could be housed within the Melbourne Museum, was ”under consideration”. But he said the Government’s focus was on rebuilding communities and preparing the state for the next bushfire season.

The Sunday Age has called for a museum that both commemorates Australia’s worst natural disaster, providing a clear account of the events of Black Saturday, and educates. Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone places in the world.

Some involved in the project believe the display should be housed in a special gallery within Melbourne Museum, rather than in a purpose-built location, to reduce costs.

”It’s going to be clever, sensitive to the area,” one source said. ”No one should burden the state with a big expensive something. People don’t want that.”

It is believed the idea is supported by Premier John Brumby and key members of the State Government.

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