14th March 2021

St John’s Maltese Cross

There are quite a few uniform buttons depicting the  Maltese Cross as used by the Order of St. John. See also  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uniform-buttons-2/sporting-clubs-and-volunteer-organisations/#St_John_Ambulance_Brigade


Queensland Ambulance

These are the only buttons with A.J. Parkes in cursive script I have.

Image thanks to Colin.

Ambulance services in Queensland date from 1892, but it was not until 1991 that 96 various services were amalgamated into the Q.A.S. under government control. The use of the Maltese Cross originates from the Badge of the Colony of Queensland. Queen Victoria favoured this emblem due to her concern for the sick and injured. The Colony Badge with this cross was adopted by many organisations within the Colony

The First Decade.

1892: The City Ambulance Transport Brigade started in the rooms of the Brisbane Newspaper Company with only a collapsible stretcher as equipment to transport patients on foot!

1893: A donation of £5 or more constituted life-membership. The service was raising funds to buy a litter.

1895: Many patients who used the service offered no payment. The litters wheels were on the point of collapse,  two new litters were required, as were new uniforms. The brigade consisted of a superintendent, three bearers and some assistant bearers. A branch was opened in South Brisbane. In November they were able to move out of the newspaper offices into their own office in Elizabeth Street. The Government offered to subsidise the brigade an amount equal to public subscriptions, which allowed the brigade to pay all arrears of wages.

1896: The service was now available at anytime, day or night. There were 6 permanent staff and 9 honorary bearers. If South Brisbane residents did  supply sufficient funds, the branch would have to close.  Lord Lamington became patron of the brigade. A branch in Gympie was suggested. First aid lectures were commenced. Funds were being raised to buy a Bath chair. Work had increased necessitating increasing the permanent staff to eight.

Detail from photo #2967/11 in Queensland State Library. two men pushing a bath chair.

1897: A sulky was purchased. A branch was opened in Maryborough. The brigade was to be brought under the provisions of the Hospital Act. New headquarters were purchased in Wharf Street.

1898: Two more sulkys were purchased. A brigade badge was registered. Insuring staff against accident was considered.

1899: The brigade oped three sulkies, 3 horse, 7 litters, 3 stretcher and  one invalid chair. The staff were now totaled 23.

1900: Branches were to be opened in Townsville, Biggenden and Charters Towers. The city brigade was now called the Metropolitan Ambulance and Transport Brigade. The debt incurred in building new facilities had been cleared.

1901 Branches was opened in Rockhampton, Ipswick, Cairns and Warwick.

1902:  Service now called Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade. A Branch in Toowoomba was opened. During the previous two years 20,951 “calls” were responded to and 70,086 miles traveled. Permanent staff in the  Brisbane headquarters now numbered 25. They were concerned about a reduction in government support.

State Library of Queensland image #66929354. Officers on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached. 1898.


Queensland Fire Service

A. J. Parkes Brisbane. 1990-1997

The Brisbane Fire Brigade formed in 1860. In 1990 eighty-one Fire Boards were replace with the Queensland Fire Service and the Rural Fire Council. The QFS has since been merged with other services into the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.


Torres News (Thursday Is, Qld), 21st June 1996 page 13. Members of the QFS on Thursday Island.