Civil Ambulance Service
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.
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.
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!
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.