It's a building that has been integral to saving lives for decades, but its focus in retirement has shifted to enriching lives.
Four years ago, the former Redcliffe Fire Station was transformed into an art gallery and arts volunteer hub. Most days of the week it is a hive of activity with classes, exhibitions and a gallery shop which attract visitors from around the Moreton Bay region and beyond.
The station opened in 1949 and was heritage listed in 2005 before shutting down in 2008.
Moreton Bay Regional Council spent $2 million to transform the building into an arts and volunteer hub, opening in 2015. Redcliffe Art Society (RAS) social manager and long-time member Jocelyn Polley says the group still considers themselves fortunate to call the heritage-listed building home.
They share the building with Redcliffe Pottery Group, who has pottery studios, kiln and display space.
“It’s wonderful. There’s so many things we can do that we couldn’t do at the other building,” Jocelyn says.
RAS now has more than 400 members who live throughout the Moreton Bay Region.
Gallery manager Wendy McHugh says almost 200 members attend their choice of 17 studio art classes every week.
“Beginners are welcome to join the novice and experienced artists working in drawing, watercolour, acrylic and oil painting,” she says.
For those looking for after hours classes there's options on a Thursday night and Sunday afternoon.
Every month, the Old Fire Station Gallery presents a new exhibition while RAS members hold their own exhibitions twice a year. Wendy says that watching beginners create their first piece and develop as artists is very rewarding. “When artists see their work on the wall, it’s very exciting for them,” she says.
The Old Fire Station Gallery Shop also showcases the work of local artists, artisans and craftspeople, offering a wide range of cards, scarves, jewellery, glassware and more.