The importance of State Emergency Service volunteers is being recognised, with the National Museum of Australia taking one of their distinctive orange uniforms into its collection for the first time.
The uniform was worn by SES Sutton unit commander Anthorr Nomchong over the disastrous 2019-20 bushfire season.
His gloves and helmet are also part of the new exhibit. The helmet has his nickname, "Sparky", scrawled on it. Mr Nomchong casually mentions he got the nickname when he was electrocuted while volunteering with the SES during Cyclone Yasi in northern Queensland in 2011.
"I was repairing a roof. Someone had left a generator on. I touched something and the next thing, 'bang'," he said.
Even then, Mr Nomchong, 59, never considered not volunteering with the SES, which provides logistical and practical support during emergencies, from floods to fire to searches. He was honoured to see his 2XL uniform go into the collection. He said it neant the museum recognised emergency services worked "hand-in-hand" in disasters.
"This is how Australia works, we help out our mates all the time," he said.
"Whether you're wearing yellow or orange or blue, it doesn't really matter because when the need comes, there is someone there who can put their hand out and do something."
SES south-eastern zone commander Colin Malone was proud to see the uniform go into the museum collection.
"This is a really exciting time for the SES," he said.
"As much as it's representing the donation of an individual uniform that Anthorr wore during the response to the bushfire effort, it represents the 11,000 volunteers in the NSW SES and the 93,000 hours that they all contributed to that effort.
"It's more than just one uniform. It's a uniform that represents volunteering across Australia."
Mr Nomchong, a descendant of the famous Braidwood merchant family, has been a member of the SES for 12 years. He is an inspector with the Australian Border Force when not volunteering.
During the last bushfire season, he was seconded to three bushfire emergencies with the SES providing logistical and communications support - Glen Innes in northern NSW, Braidwood and Cooma. He was also part of a team who helped during Canberra's big hailstorm in January. His unit's attention had now turned to the threat of floods and was busier than ever.
"The amount of people around here who have been affected by minor flooding is just crazy," he said.
"We've had more jobs locally here in the last two months than we've had in the last two years."
Museum curator Craig Middleton said the acquisition of the SES uniform was a chance to recognise the boys and girls in orange.
"Last summer's bushfires have forever changed the way we think of the land in which we live, and we are so grateful for the role our NSW SES volunteers played and continue to play, in supporting all Australians in times of crisis," he said.
"We are so pleased to take the NSW SES uniform into the collection as a way of honouring the volunteers who gave so generously last summer and who will continue to be there for us in times of need in the future."
The uniform acquisition coincides with Friday's launch of a new museum website, Momentous, which invites Australians to share their stories and experiences of the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic, to create an online record of a unique part of history.
It will be at momentous.nma.gov.au from Friday.
Mr Middleton encouraged people to share their stories of a unique year on the new Momentous website.
"It's an exhibition for members of the public to send us their content," he said.
"We're asking people to reflect through video, image, sound and text, and we're creating this record of history in this moment in time and trying to capture that complexity.
"We want people to reflect on their own histories and own experiences rather than having someone else say what happened."