The Coolamon Fire Museum, located in the Riverina region of NSW 25 minutes drive from Wagga Wagga is operated by Chris and Joanne Berry.
Chris and Joanne Berry first moved to Coolamon with their family in 1976. They had a Furniture Factory on the Temora Road (now the Rannock Road). It wasn’t long after that George Tokley the then Coolamon Fire Captain asked Chris to join the Coolamon Fire Brigade. And so it began. Chris had a real passion for the Fire Brigade, he was a dedicated Fire Man and an enthusiastic Engine Keeper for 22 years in Coolamon and Temora. Chris has also received the National Long Service Medal.
One day while installing a new kitchen for Bluey a retired Fire Man in West Wyalong, Chris caught sight of a brass helmet sitting on top of the old kitchen cupboards he was dismantling. Bluey’s wife saw how excited Chris was so she said he could have it, she said she was glad to see it go along with Bluey’s belt, axe and spanner. Chris was overwhelmed and said he would purchase his very first collectables from Bluey and this is how his collecting was set in motion.
Over the next three decades Chris was always on the lookout for any thing that was associated with Fire Fighting not just in NSW or Australia but from around the world. In that time he gained his Long Service Medal. He would go to clearance sales, garage sales, markets, swap meets and in later years he advanced to eBay. His family always knew what to buy him for his birthday, Father’s day and Christmas. Now Chris wishes to share his collection with The Coolamon Shire community and tourists. Preserving fire fighting equipment, uniforms and memorabilia of days gone by, for the enjoyment and education of the young and old alike.
We were honoured to have the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins, open The Coolamon Fire Museum on 5th October 2015.
Commissioner of NSW Fire & Rescue Greg Mullins, Coolamon Shire Mayor John Seymour, Joanne and Chris Berry Coolamon Fire Museum managers at the opening.
The Berry Family (pictured below) are the founders of the museum.
Chris and Joanne wish to thank the Coolamon Shire Council and all involved for helping to make this dream a reality.