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HOT: Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

I don’t know what it is with little boys but all the ones I seem to know are fascinated by fire engines (or vehicles in general actually). If that’s the case with your little boy (or girl) then head to the Fire Services Museum in East Melbourne and give them a thrill!

The Fire Services Museum is housed in the original headquarters of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. It is a privately owned museum run by wholly by volunteers with a background with fire services.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

A retired fireman will normally be happy to tell you a few stories and show you around. The museum has one of the largest collections of fire-fighting memorabilia in Australia, with items sourced from Victoria, Australia and overseas. 
Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

Inside the museum you’ll find rooms of fire-fighting paraphernalia, starting with vintage firefighting equipment, a section dedicated to the volunteer Country Fire Association and information about modern firefighting.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

The back room is probably the most interesting for little kids. There are a couple of old fire engines/carriages on display, including one that you can actually climb into.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

Don a helmet and safety jacket and pretend you’re off to a fire emergency!

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East MelbourneThe back area also has a small table with fire safety colouring-in.  


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Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

Upstairs was the most interesting for me, as it shows how the fire station used to be notified of fire locations. There’s an arcane system of sirens, dials and building keys – imagine getting to a fire and realising you’d brought the wrong keys! Little kids can help press the fire alarm to activate the whole system.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

On the way out you won’t be able to resist the shop with fire fighting memorabilia. Note the shop currently does not have EFTPOS or credit card facilities.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

If you visit on Fridays you can also go to the adjacent to the Eastern Hill Fire Station as they present fire safety demonstrations weekly at 10:30am. They show kids how they cut people out of a car using the Jaws of Life, basic fire safety and the chance to meet firefights and fire engines up close. The demonstrations are free but bookings are recommended as numbers are limited. Weekly fire safety displays happen at various times in various locations around Melbourne.

Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne

For fire fighting appliance enthusiasts, the Fire Vehicle and Appliance Restoration Workshops are located in Newport. The restoration team (all volunteers) at Newport welcome visitors by arrangement.


HOT Tips:

  • parking on street is limited, try Victoria Parade or Albert Street. Closest train station is Parliament or catch #112 tram;
  • go on Friday and combine it with free fire safety demonstration at Eastern Hill fire station next door;
  • Shop and entry fee cash only, no EFTPOS facilities and
  • Close to Fitzroy Gardens for playgrounds, cafes.

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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