Tower Wagon No.7 – Fargo

The Fargo tower truck is an FL 4 model first registered in May 1948. The tower was used to maintain the overhead wires of the trams and trolley buses and was constructed by the Hobart City Council owned tramways (HMT) in their workshops. The final cost of the truck and tower was 1342 pounds and replaced a Miles Daimler that has been built on one of the chassis of Hobarts first two buses introduced around 1905. Following the closure of the trolley buses in 1968, No.7 was retained by the now government owned Metropolitan Transport Trust (MTT) for building maintenance purposes and initially lent to the Tasmanian Transport Museum for display in between these tasks from 1988. Eventually the truck (and its use) was deemed to be a non core activity of the MTT and it was donated to the museum in October 1998. Interestingly it has carried one colour scheme but 7 different registration plates over its 70 years.

1935 Dodge Fire Engine

This fire engine, which is actually a society owned vehicle, was returned to the museum on 22 May 2022 after being away for many decades.

This truck is fitted out as an urban pumper/hose carriage and was the second motorised fire appliance to be based at Burnie. The Burnie Fire Brigade was formed in September 1890 and obtained their first motorised truck in mid-1926, which unfortunately was not totally satisfactory. In 1935 it was agreed to consider obtaining a new fire engine and it was decided to obtain a Dodge pumper that was similar to those being introduced in rural Victoria.

The fire engine chassis arrived at Burnie in March 1936 and was forwarded to the local motor body building firm Bird and Hopkins where the body of the truck was constructed. Newspaper reports indicate the Dodge was a good acquisition and it remained part of the active fleet until about 1966 when it was retired and sold to the Cleveland Tin Mine NL, which was in the process of establishing a mine and small village at Luina about 12 kilometres west of Waratah on the west coast.

The fire engine became surplus to the mine’s requirements in 1975 and was advertised as being available for purchase by interested parties. The TTMS noted the ad and considered that a vintage fire engine would be a good addition to the museum collection. A sale price of $100 was agreed to and the Dodge was subsequently driven to Hobart by society members. With limited covered space at the Transport Museum site in the early years, the fire engine has made only a few short appearances before having extended periods of storage offsite, including at the Taroona Fire Station and in a farm shed at Gretna.

Around 1990, the Burnie Fire Brigade requested the loan of the engine for display at Burnie to mark the centenary of the brigade and it returned to the north west where it was restored and made operational. In recent years the Tasmania Fire Service placed the engine in storage away from public display and recently decided to return the engine to the Transport Museum.  The fire engine was taken to the Fire Services Museum sheds at Cambridge where it was checked and returned to running condition prior to being delivered back to the Transport Museum.

Of interest, the Tasmania Fire Services Museum have a similar Dodge fire engine that was Longford’s first fire engine. It entered service there in 1937.

Fargo Tower Truck