The organisation that I have chosen to work with for my project is Kentlyn Rural Fire Brigade, which is located in the community of Kentlyn. Kentlyn is a small community in the Campbelltown region, surrounded by Georges River and a vast nature reserve, where the minimum subdivision of land is 5 acres. For this reason, there are a lot of areas that are at risk of being fire hazards. This first became of interest to me as around the time that this semester began, there were a couple of rather dangerous fires and hazards in Kentlyn where the Fire Service needed to be actively involved. Seeing the hard work that the Fire Service puts in for my community, I thought this was the perfect opportunity for me to give back.
The first barrier that I encountered with KRFB is that fact that they are a voluntary service, and do not meet on a standard regular basis as many other organisations do. This was particularly challenging as I awaited confirmation that they would like to work with me, as I was struggling to think of any back up ideas and wasn’t sure of what I would do if they did not think my project was appropriate. During this time, I took it upon myself to look into the voluntary Fire Brigade a little more to gain a deeper understanding of the role that they played in the community. It is through this that I began to realise the vast history of the community of Kentlyn which intrigued me into this project even more. How could this community have such a fascinating history yet there was no collective memory of it all?
After a few (stressful) weeks, KRFB responded to me and said they would be happy to work with me, which was great! I met up with Ben, a member of KRFB and discussed my project in a little bit more detail. It was in this meeting that we arranged some further time for me to spend with KRFB to find out even more about what they do and the role that they play in the Kentlyn community. At this point in my project, I have a basic understanding of the role that KRFB plays in my community and I am excited to build on this and create an online space for the community to gain further knowledge about the great history that we share and the importance of KRFB, particularly in such a fascinating area of Campbelltown.
Our visit to the Sydney Jewish Holocaust Museum was very interesting for me as it allowed me to see the relevance of public history. It was through this experience that I realised the way that public history can provide a great space for many people to come together to recognise the past and appreciate the struggles and successes of particular people. For this reason, I am even more excited to continue working with KRFB in the aspiration that my small project may act as a piece of public history for years to come.