Queensland Ambulance Service celebrates 125 years

Mount Isa Manager of Clinical Education, Casey Horne; Clinical Support Officer Melissa Cheshire; Advanced Care Paramedic, Matilda Barwick. Photo: Esther MacIntyre
Mount Isa Manager of Clinical Education, Casey Horne; Clinical Support Officer Melissa Cheshire; Advanced Care Paramedic, Matilda Barwick. Photo: Esther MacIntyre

Next week is Ambulance Week, and the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) is inviting North West communities to join in the celebrations.

Held each year around the anniversary of the state’s first civil ambulance service, Ambulance Week is a chance to say thanks to the dedicated staff and volunteers who work to keep Queenslanders safe.

North West Local Ambulance Service Network (NW LASN) Executive Manager, Jessika Brind, said this year is special because it signals 125 years since the creation of ambulance services in Queensland.

“In 1892 motor vehicles were not easily accessible, so the ambulance response was either on foot pushing a litter, or with horse and cart,” Ms Brind said.

Being a paramedic is still a tough job at times, and Ms Brind said gratitude is always welcome.

“We do tend to get a lot of thanks around Christmas especially, we might get people dropping off flowers or a card. Sometimes we get thanks from specific patients which is always nice, it helps staff feel really valued, and that they have made a difference in someone’s life,” she said.

The Queensland Ambulance Service has a zero tolerance to abuse, and are supporters of White Ribbon.

“We support that organisation strongly because we feel domestic violence has a big impact in the community and affects people across the board,” Ms Brind said. 

In Mount Isa on Thursday, September 14, there will be a QAS remembrance service at Good Shepherd Catholic Church to honour staff who have lost their lives on the job.

“It’s just to dedicate some time and say thank you to the staff that have been in the Ambulance Service and paid the ultimate price,” Ms Brind said.

Local activities in the North West:

In Mount Isaon Monday, September 11, Mount Isa Ambulance staff will be participating in Centacare’s march for suicide prevention.

In Mount Isa on Thursday, September 14, there will be a QAS remembrance service at Good Shepherd Catholic Church to honour staff who have lost their lives on the job.

Also in Mount Isa on Thursday September 14, NW LASN Executive Manager, Jessika Brind, will be speaking at ‘Find Your Future’ careers expo at Mount Isa Buff’s Club, run by the Department of State Development. 

Normanton Ambulance Station will hold a station open day on Monday, September 11 from 10am to 2pm at 70 Thompson Street. Activities will include a vehicle and equipment display and CPR Awareness sessions.

Doomadgee Ambulance Station will hold an open day on Wednesday, September 13 from 10am to 4pm at Douglas Road. Activities will include CPR Awareness sessions, vehicle display and face painting.

In Mount Isa on Thursday September 14, NW LASN Executive Manager, Jessika Brind, will be speaking at ‘Find Your Future’ careers expo at Mount Isa Buff’s Club, run by the Department of State Development. 

Mount Isa paramedics will celebrate 125 years of ambulance services with a static display outside the Mount Isa Village shopping centre on Saturday, September 16 from 8am to 12noon. Meet and greet your local paramedics, learn CPR and check out QAS vehicles and equipment.

Julia Creek paramedics will also hold an open day on Saturday, September 16 at the Julia Creek Ambulance Station (times to be confirmed).

Cloncurry paramedics will hold a station open day in conjunction with the hospital on Thursday, September 21 from 2pm at the hospital complex located on Musgrave Street. Activities will include CPR Awareness sessions, vehicle and equipment displays and first-aid handy hints.

Queensland Ambulance Service facts:

- In its first year as the City Ambulance Transport Bridge in 1893,400 call outs were received that covered 1,867km.

- Today, the QAS answers about 730,000 calls for help each year and responds to incidents from 287 locations across the state.

- It has a workforce of more than 4,000 staff who are supported by about 1,500 volunteers.