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All women play a vital role at MFB and proudly work alongside male colleagues to deliver exceptional fire and emergency services to the Australian community.

Firecall, No. 338, 2018.

The 1980s was a decade of great change in Australia as people actively fought for a fairer society for women.

Workplaces responded by providing women with greater opportunities to develop a meaningful career. It was during this period that Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) first opened its doors to women.

Initially, they opened just a crack when, in 1983, women were actively recruited to the role of operators in the new MFB Communications Centre. But by the end of the decade, despite some resistance, the doors were firmly wedged ajar when the first three women graduated as firefighters in 1988.

Very few of the women who joined MFB grew up picturing themselves as Communications Operators or Firefighters. They were true pioneers, laying strong foundations for the women who followed in their footsteps.

This exhibition explores and celebrates some of the stories of these women, their challenges and achievements, and the progress made as MFB continues on its journey embracing diversity. It honours the strength, bravery and professionalism that all operational women have shown in delivering outstanding service to the community.

Unless otherwise acknowledged, all images in this exhibition are from MFB archives.