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In the 1950's and 1960's, if you received a hot mail it is likely that it was cooked on anFig.1
By the late 1960’s to the early 80’s the Forests Commission owned and operated two models of 18 foot kitchen vans.
In the late 1980s an ageing Mobil Trail model would be auctioned off and replaced by a new and more functional kitchen, manufactured by Brimarco Industries, a Ballarat firm. During this period the Franklin mobile kitchens manufactured during the early 1970’s were undergoing refurbishment at the Altona Fire Protection Workshop.
The Franklin and Brimarco Kitchens were operated at forest fire camps for a further number of years until being auctioned-off in late 2000 with the introduction of a modern Containerised Kitchen System.
In time, Catering-trailers provided departmental fire camp cooks with the tools and equipment to deliver a sound meal for a small crew of fire fighters.
The trailers were equipped with the essential needs to allow a cook to be quickly despatched to a field location to commence preparation of meals for an incoming crew.
In 1982 a large, ex-Military refrigerator was purchased by the FCV and mounted on a tandem trailer frame to provide a means of transfer to regional fire-camp operations. The refrigerator was powered by an 8 KVA power generator which was transported as part of the consignment. It weighed 1.820 Kgs.
Extracts from: Managing Base Camps at Major Fires*
DSE Publication 2007
The mobile kitchen is contained within a standard ISO six-metre shipping container. It folds out to occupy an area of 6 metres by 6 metres catering for in excess of 400 people. The kitchen provides three meals a day offering hot and cold lunch and a selection of hot meals for breakfast and dinner.
The kitchen provides:
• Robust construction
• The ability to prepare, cook and serve meals at the same time
• An easy to clean stainless steel interior
• Self sufficient potable water, LPG 240 Watts and sullage tank to support one 24 hour shift after set up.
Mobile Cool Rooms were initially purchased and introduced by the Forests commission in the early 1970’s for fire camp’s use. If additional Cool rooms were required due to an increase in camp size and not readily available internally from the departments’ contingency then more would be hired commercially.
Cool-room vans were a necessity to ensure that perishable food remained fresh for the camp cooks who work tirelessly providing meals on a daily basis during extreme summer weather conditions.
Drinking water carry bags were introduced in the 1980’s They consisted of a 1000 denier corduroy outer bag housing a replaceable inner bladder - thus providing fire-line personnel with a comfortable and easy to carry 4.5 litre drinking water receptacle. The outer bag could be easily cleaned at the conclusion of operations, while the inner bladder could be discarded and replaced when required.
Canvas water bags were no longer an acceptable drinking water vessel for fire line personnel and alternatives were being sought and introduced