Queensland Fire and Emergency Headquarters in Maryborough finally opens

29 November 2022

David Rowlinson

More than six years and $14 million of works are complete at the Queensland Fire and Emergency Headquarters in the heritage city of Maryborough, but this is a building like no other.

The station is the first in Australia to be made of mass (also known as engineered) timber, and the irony is not lost on QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing.

"Normally, we're fighting fires associated with timber," he said.

"The fact that now our fire station is actually made of timber — there's a lot of detail and research that has gone into that."

The new design restored the 1951 heritage-valued brick bones of the original station, with the remainder of the building constructed from locally sourced wood. It is a nod to Maryborough's long-running history as a timber town.

Built using approximately 500 cubic metres of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glue Laminated Timber (GLT), the new QFES station and regional headquarters delivers numerous benefits, including excellent fire performance qualities, carbon sequestration, aesthetic appeal, and prefabrication for faster construction. Importantly, the total volume of timber used in the new station can be regrown in sustainable Australian plantations in just 38 mins. In addition, the timber structure saved 1,742 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere – when compared to conventional building materials – equivalent to taking 375 cars off the road for a year! 

"It all started after a meeting with Hyne Timber, and then I started pitching to Brisbane that I wanted to build a timber fire station,” Queensland Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said.

"We started this project back in 2016. Everyone said it would never get off the ground, but we persevered."

It had been a long year for the region that has felt the impacts of three major floods since January. Mr Wassing said the facility was welcomed off the back of these disasters.

"We're looking down the barrel of another really wet season," he said.

"We've now got this state-of-the-art facility with amazing people, staff and volunteers from all of our emergency services who are all well practiced, and they'll be ready for the severe weather season ahead of us.”

Article first appeared on ABC online

Photo of the author: David Rowlinson
David Rowlinson

David hails from Lancashire, England and has lived in Australia since 1994. He studied Architecture at Sheffield University and also has an MBA from Macquarie University and a Master of Marketing from UNSW. Prior to joining Planet Ark in 2016 David was Marketing Manager then CEO of a major Sydney-based manufacturer of modular carpets used in all commercial building applications. His proudest achievement was the development of an industry-leading environmental sustainability agenda, including the unique Earthplus product reuse program.

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