The First and the last St.John Volunteers on Adelaide Metropolitan Ambulances
On Friday 1st of February 1952 Mr Vic Kollosche and
Mr Brian Delaine did the very first
shift as an official St.John Volunteer Ambulance crew in metropolitan
They transported a patient with a general sickness after getting the call from the radio room at Hindmarsh Centre at around 1.30 am Saturday morning. They were in a Dodge ambulance, registration number 5051 that was still wearing the livery of the Northern Suburbs Ambulance Association on its Gilbert Motors bodywork, but it was soon destined to become Car 11 in St.John.
St.John were due to take over that month from both the South Australian Ambulance Transport Incorporated and the Northern Suburbs Ambulance Association Incorporated, as the officially mandated ambulance service provider, but true to form, dedicated St.John volunteers like Vic and Brian had started covering shifts before the official handover.
Ambulance volunteers had been alive and well providing a variety of ambulance
Between 1952 and 1991,
However, at dawn on
the morning of Monday 6 May 1991, over 100 years of tradition ended, as the
last volunteer crew came off duty.
From that day onwards, St.John volunteer ambulance crews in metro
On the night of the 5th
May, the last two St.John volunteer crews in
The phasing out of St.John volunteer crews had begun in earnest in early 1989 after intense industrial disruption by certain disaffected elements of the ambulance union lead to the decision by a union sympathetic Labour government to remove the volunteers to appease Trades Hall.
By early 1991, both
McLaren - Aldinga and Blackwood St.John Centres were the only
remaining ambulance centres in metropolitan
The last crews at Blackwood consisted of Miss Pip McGowan and her partner from Unley Division for Afternoon Shift and part of Evening Shift and Mr Philip Dunkley, Mr Andrew Clough and Mr Rohan Roylance for the remainder of Evening Shift and Sleep On. The Aldinga-McLaren crew came off duty at midnight, Sunday 5th May.
The last job
performed by St.John metro volunteers was a priority one responded to by
Blackwood 16 Echo for an elderly gentleman experiencing chest pains in
At 0800 the paid staff from Marion came up the hill and collected Fleet 155, the Blackwood Division Ambulance, it was the end of an era. After they left, Phil Dunkley reversed Blackwood’s new divisional first aid unit Fleet 905 into the garage. Even if Blackwood Division were not allowed to run an ambulance service any more, at least they could provide first aid support to the local area.
May 1991, taken during
the week that the last St.John volunteer ambulance crews operated in