It has its own postcode; it had a state school; it employed hundreds and now the CFA training campus at Fiskville is in the process of being decommissioned.
The 300 acre institution suspended operations in 2015 after a cancer cluster was discovered among those who lived and worked there since the 1970s. The site was closed permanently not long after the suspension and a parliamentary inquiry report was released.
The CFA said on Friday 7 July, through a media release, the first major step would be the demolition of the Practical Area Drill (PAD).
“This work will include the removal of all training props and other structures within the training area,” the statement read.
“The former accommodation areas, Learning Centre and other structures outside of the PAD are not impacted by these works.”
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said it was a requirement of the CFA to remediate the site.
“While this was an emotional time for many, the safety and wellbeing of our people and the broader community is our first priority,” he said.
“The start of these works will be closure for some, difficult for others, but hopefully we can all move forward and focus on the future with new facilities such as the new, and recently announced, Central Highlands Training Campus.”
Moorabool’s Central Ward councillor Paul Tatchell spoke of the significance of the decommissioning works.
“It is always difficult – Fiskville has been a significant thread in the tapestry of our region. It is a mixed emotion when Fiskville is such an iconic piece of our history. It is pretty hard to look forward if you don’t know where you came from, and Fiskville has been that connection for many, it is where they came from, it is their history, Cr Tatchell said.
“It has also been a very traumatic time for a lot of people for a number of reasons and been tough on the economy as well.”
Cr Tatchell said “the blow has been softened somewhat” with the news of the new facility to be built in Ballan.
“Fiskville sort of sits in the middle of nowhere, it has always been an important landmark. It is going to be a very tough time and hope they will keep some of that iconic history on the site (old).”
Cr Tatchell was pleased that there was a plan to go forward.
“Two years ago we didn’t have a plan and that put the people of this region under enormous stress as well as the economy. The closure came quickly and people were all of a sudden unemployed; Fiskville was one of the largest employers in the region, the town itself relied on it.”
The decommissioning works at Fiskville are expected to begin within two-weeks.