Item #CL199-33 [Firefighter, Australian Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1, Sydney, NSW]
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[Firefighter, Australian Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1, Sydney, NSW]

c1870s. Hand-coloured albumen paper photograph, carte-de-visite format, annotated “6548” in pencil and studio line on backing verso, 9.3 x 6.1cm. Slight scuffing, laid down on original backing.

Studio line reads “W.H. Schroder’s Photographic Gallery, 645 George Street (opposite the Haymarket,) Sydney.” Image shows “No. 1” on the firefighter’s helmet and belt buckle, which includes the acronym “AVFC” (Australian Volunteer Fire Company).

The first volunteer fire company in Sydney was “initially a private brigade, set up in the early 1840s, to protect the Royal Victoria Theatre in Pitt Street. In October 1854, the theatre’s new lessee Andrew Torning, an actor/scene painter by trade and member of the theatre’s brigade, supplied a fire engine and renamed the brigade the Victoria Volunteer Fire Company, No. 1. It provided fire suppression services to all in the community and was funded, at least in part, by the subscription and benefit nights. As a result of such support it was able to move to its own premises in Pitt Street in 1857 and was renamed the Australian Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, reflecting its broader coverage and premier status.” Ref: Wright, “Contested Firegrounds: paid and unpaid labour in NSW firefighting between 1850 and 1955”, PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 2008.

Item #CL199-33

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