PHOTOS

New Parkes Headquarters Rural Fire Station officially open

"We're able to spread our wings now," Parkes Headquarters Rural Fire Brigade captain Steve Chester said.

The brigade has a new $870,000 fire station in Hanlon Street and Mr Chester said it's credit to the hard work of his 32 volunteers.

It's also thanks to the Rural Fire Fighting Fund which is contributed to by both state and local government and insurance companies, Parkes Shire Council who supplied the land and a $10,000 grant.

The brigade has also contributed $10,000 from fundraising efforts to furnish the building.

Inside a warm, spacious new premises on an icy winter morning on Saturday, the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Mid Lachlan Valley Team hosted the official opening.

RFS Assistant Commissioner Peter McKechnie attended on behalf of NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott.

Member for the Legislative Council Sam Farraway, Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM and Cr Neil Westcott were also present, with apologies from the Federal Member for Riverina Michael McCormack and State Member for Orange Phil Donato.

Work began on the new station two years ago after the Headquarters Brigade had outgrown its former location in Matthews Street that it occupied for 20 years.

The new station boasts four bays to fit two appliances (fire trucks), a command vehicle and the zone's 14-seat bus; a meeting/training room; office; storeroom; kitchen and toilet facilities.

The brigade moved into the new premises on August 15.

Mid Lachlan Valley district manager Superintendent Ken Neville said they are very proud of the finished product.

"It is more than just a station," he said.

"We're going to use it as a focal point for the Parkes area.

"The brigade has donated funds to furnish the station... which has come from their fundraising at the Parkes Elvis Festival.

"Parkes Headquarters has been feeding Elvii for a number of years," he laughed.

Supt Neville acknowledged and thanked the local suppliers who donated items for the new station.

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie presented Mr Chester a plaque and a new flag to mark the opening.

"[Stations] are more than just a place to put the trucks," Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

"Before it might have been just a shed... [but] they do become hubs within the community."

Cr Keith praised and thanked the RFS volunteers for their work over the years and said council was happy to be involved with the new site.

"The old station didn't have separate facilities for male and female firefighters," he said.

"It's a pleasure for council to help support this [station] by putting some funds in to help make it happen."

Mr Farraway said "for a fast growing town, it's great to see all the development that's going on".

Mr Chester is thrilled with the new and bigger station, saying it's a great asset for the Parkes community.

"Our old station had two bays and we still had to fit four vehicles in, everything was just jammed in," he said.

"This is great and what we needed."

The occasion provided an opportunity for dignitaries, firefighters and their families to pay tribute to long-serving volunteers, with a medal presentation coinciding with the ceremony.

At the end of the event, the Parkes Rapid Relief Team, who are volunteers that cater for big government events, donated their services and provided lunch.

Forming in the late 1990s, the Parkes Headquarters Brigade attends an average of 50 call-outs a year, ranging from car accidents to house and grass fires.

It is also the primary backup to Parkes Fire and Rescue NSW, who opened their new station on August 18.

Supt Neville said the brigade is usually one of the first brigades within the team to have crews and trucks ready to attend any major fires in the state they are needed for.

The Headquarters station isn't the only new site in the Parkes Shire - the two tiers of government and the RFS have been working in partnership to build new facilities for the whole of the Mid Lachlan Valley.

A new two-bay station at Waratah west of Peak Hill is expected to be opened on September 11, as is a new one-bay station at Caradgery, and a new station for Mickibri will be opened on September 18.