15th March 2021

Civil Ambulance Service

Stokes & Sons Victoria. 1950-1962

In 1883 a branch of the St John Ambulance Association was formed in Melbourne. Like in Brisbane, the beginnings were humble and funding an ongoing problem. In 1887 six litters were placed at police stations for use. In 1899 the first horse drawn ambulance, and in 1910 the first motor vehicle were used.

From the Melton Civic Library, image # FL134, c.1895.

The Herald (Melbourne), 29th May 1916 page 10. Most patients provided no payment for their transportation.

In 1917 the Civil Ambulance Service had four motor and three horse wagons. The service was in debt but was appealing for funds to buy another ambulance. The government did not support the service until a significant influenza outbreak in 1918. The extra funding allowed an increase in staffing to 85 drivers and attendants, with 16 horse and motor vehicles. Country services began in 1923.

The Argus (Melbourne), 10th February 1927 page 9.

The Argus (Melbourne), 23rd August 1938 page 3. An outbreak of “infantile paralysis (polio) that year had place strain on the service.”ANTIVAXERS TAKE NOTE!

It 1954 a new “two way” radio communication was installed. Until then the officers had to ring from a public phone to let the dispatcher know they had successfully received the radio message!

The Age (Melbourne), 12th February 1947 page 5. A radio dispatcher at work.

In the 1980s the Metropolitan Ambulance Service was formed from the merger of smaller services. In 1997 rural services were consolidated. The services were further merged in 2008 into Ambulance Victoria.

See  http://www.ahsv.org.au/history/

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