Firetruck playground honouring late firefighters opens in Buxton

People from across the state flocked to Buxton on Saturday to honour the lives of RFS firefighters Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer.

A brand new firetruck playground was officially opened at Telopea Park, in memory of the Horsley Park firefighters who gave their lives to protect others during last year's devastating Green Wattle Creek bushfire.

The families, partners and children of Mr Keaton and Mr O'Dwyer were all in attendance to see hundreds of people from all walks of life gathered in their honour.

In a ceremony chaired by Wollondilly councillor Matthew Deeth, special guests spoke about the bravery the men showed in the face of great adversity last year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was an "honour and privilege" to be in Buxton for such a special occasion.

He spoke of Melissa and Charlotte O'Dwyer (Andrew's wife and daughter) and Jess Hayes and Harvey Keaton (Geoffrey's partner and son) finding peace and joy in the new park.

"There have been many moments of sadness in this past year and I hope that this is a day that might have a light of joy for you on this long road," Mr Morrison said.

"I hope you can look back on this as a day with some joy.

"This place will be a place of healing and of peace, of quiet reflection, but above all a place to play, a place for children like Charlotte and Harvey who have already given a strong seal of approval.

"I'm sure and I hope your dads would have loved this place, as your mums I'm sure do. '

"We all wish Geoff could've chased Harvey through this fire truck playground, and Andrew could've lifted Charlotte up to reach the monkey bars while Jess and Melissa watched on enjoying a cup of coffee and a bit of a catch-up. I hope this a place where Harvey and Charlotte and their mums and their broader families can feel the presence of Geoff and Andrew."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she hoped the playground would bring "hope, joy and comfort" to the family and friends of Mr Keaton and Mr O'Dwyer.

"Buxton and Horsley Park will have forever a link between them, two communities brought together by tragedy, but two communities who represent hope and aspiration of future generations," she said.

"Can I also acknowledge a very special local who has just been named NSW Volunteer of the year and whose idea this whole park was, Kim Hill from the RFS.

"What Kim has done is not only think of a wonderful way in which to celebrate Charlotte and Harvey and their dads and their extended family, but also celebrate how the tragedy has brought these communities together."

Former RFS Commissioner Shane FitzSimmons - now the Resilience NSW Commissioner - said everyone was proud to honour "the sacrifice of two young, made for the want of nothing in return but to make a difference to their local community".

"We know the healing, psychological and emotional repair of communities across this state will go on for months and years," he said.

"This playground not only pays tribute to Andrew and Geoff, who played the ultimate price in service of protecting their community, but also provides a place of happiness, celebration and growth for kids into the future.

"That's what community is all about.

"Andrew and Geoff are the epitome of what a modern hero is in Australia."

Cr Deeth said the park stood as a reminder that "out of the ashes of fire comes hope, life and the opportunity to rebuild".

The families of Mr Keaton and Mr O'Dwyer were presented with special gifts, from small sculptures to bouquets of flowers and plants.

Indigenous elder Aunty Glenda Chalker led a welcome to country, while the Dharawal Dancers performed dances of remembrance and welcome, and conducted a smoking ceremony.

This story Firetruck playground honouring late firefighters opens in Buxton first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.