St John's Ambulance Brigade growth and change of a great organisation

St John's Ambulance.

St Johns Ambulance service has gone thought a great many changes to become a prominent organization in Australian for health and safety. St Johns has become a trusted organization, though some of the ways they have assisted in health and education over the years since their establishment in 1877. They were the first group of doctors and nurses to teach students in schools, first aid and they also had volunteers both men and women who served in world war 1 & 2 to look after and care for the injured soldiers. Their reliability in difficult times made them a trusted group of people throughout Australia. Their help for those who need it has won over the trust of a country that has had its own struggles with its environment. People in Australia have been looking at them for help in the worst of events in Australian history. This trust lead to a rise in the number of people who wanted to learn first aid to help those in their community quickly and efficiently. Over the years St John have left a mark on the history of Australia from teaching children first aid to saving people on the battle fields of World War One and Two. Without the amazing people who founded St Johns Ambulance service in 1877, the world would definitely be a poorer place.

St John’s Ambulance Brigade was formed to a work with the growing needs of effective first aid training to deal with the increasing number of accidents. The new growing number of accidents was caused by the increase in the amount of people living in the cities and working in factories which were very dangerous.

Examples of the brigade

Was first established in England then brought to Australia.

Uniforms were similar to a military-style.

Only in the later years of St John's did they bring in vans to transport the wounded to the hospitals.

They are one of the most recognizable health service groups in the world.


Their Uniforms were similar to a military-style and not only did they have uniforms like the military the organization was set up like one too. This was because people trusted the armies and they would be taken seriously, the soldiers in the war would be able to clearly recognize them as doctors and not opposite forces to be killed. At first the Brigade was formed by volunteers. In 1904 the first men's division of the brigade was the first division paid. The Brigade attended all race meetings at the race course (metropolitan race course) and received donations for their services. The Brigade also attended football matches, bicycle races and The Royal Agricultural Show. The first women's division was founded in 1913’ as nurses to support the doctors while they were’assisting injured people.

Examples of the uniforms from 1918 to the present day.

World War

Many of the women volunteers along with the men brigade served in the First World War. Some of the women formed the Voluntary Aid Detachments and worked in military hospitals. In the Second World War there was an increased demand for first aid training. While so many of the men were fighting it was but up to the women to take on the role of the nurses and first aid training.

St John's In World War One

First Aid

The first class was held on the 3rd of March 1892 and was attended by an array of people from the community. There was twenty police officers, ten railway workers and two community members. By the end of the century there was a total of 176 students who had completed the course with passing marks. 1911 was the first time classes of first aid were held at the mine sites across Australia. This lead to the decrease in deaths by minor accidents, that in the past would have been a life threatening injuries.

CPR, Morphine, Defibrillator, Green whistle

Key Techniques used today

Over the years St Johns has brought in many new methods of treating patients, changing with the times and with the technology and scientific advancements. Some of the advancements are the invention of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). CPR is an artificial way to circulate the blood thought the body of someone who has stopped breathing. Also the use of pain relief was introduced. The first, the green whistle, it is a fast acting pain relief and is the first call of pain relief. The second form of pain relief is a shot injection of morphine. Morphine is a strong pain relief injection, and can only be given for extreme pain. One of the newest tools to be brought in to paramedics is the defibrillator, this alone has increased the percentage of survival from heart attack. Some of these tools would have only been used in hospitals, but are now available for the use in ambulances by paramedics and by St John Ambulance Members.

"32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander. Sadly, less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive." (Association, 2011)

The Future

With the continual improvements and findings with technology and research, I am sure there are many exciting changes to come. One constant thing that we can hope will not change is the commitment of St Johns Ambulance brigade to help.

Overall St John’s Ambulance has made a huge impact in Australia and we hope they will continue to far into the future.

Created By
Grace Wyborn


Created with images by sv1ambo - "Ford XF Falcon GL ambulance" • wellcome images - "L0081434 Sir James Cantlie and Lady Cantlie, ca. 1914/1918." • p_a_h - "Weekend Walk: Order of St John Annual Service at St Paul's Cathedral" • Yortw - "St John's Ambulance" • stanrandom - "st john's ambulance" • dgj103 - "Lord Mayor's Show 2008" • u07ch - "First aid kit" • Vinnio - "inside ambulance ambulance lighting ambulance spots"

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