Wollondilly Council was awarded Best Regional/Rural Industry Contribution Award at the 2021 Parks & Leisure Australia Awards for its Telopea Park RFS Fire Truck Memorial Playground project.
The distinctive memorial playground was built to honour Mr Geoffrey Keaton and Mr Andrew O’Dwyer of Horsley Park RFS Brigade, who lost their lives in the Green Wattle Creek bushfire at Buxton in December 2019.
The project involved collaboration between Wollondilly Shire Council, Buxton RFS, Horsley Park RFS, NSW RFS, Wingecarribee Shire Council, and a whole range of community groups and businesses.
CEO Ben Taylor said, “Wollondilly Council is honoured to receive this national award for a project that we are extremely proud of.”
“The fire truck playground at Telopea Park is an ongoing reminder to the Buxton community of the sacrifice that was made to protect their village during the devastating Green Wattle Creek Fire.”
“I’d like to thank the community advocates, particularly the Buxton RFS, who successfully secured a range of external funding towards the playground equipment. This was a truly collaborative effort between Council, the RFS and the community.”
“Congratulations to the Mayor and Councillors for their vision and support for this fantastic project.”
The success of the project was evident at the official park opening in December 2020, attended by the families of the two fallen firefighters with a long list of dignitaries including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, former Premier Gladys Berejiklian, RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers and Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.
The park is now enjoyed by local families as well as many visitors to the area and stands as a legacy for current and future generations to gather, play and reflect.