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Ambulance Victoria serves 3 million people within an area of 9,000 sq. kms  and our trip to the museum in Bayswater was fascinating and provided an insight into how the service has developed over the centuries. On Wednesday April 10th our group was met with a table laden with morning tea  courtesy of Mrs. Martin and Mrs.Meek  which put us all in a very receptive mood.

Chas Martin told us tales of the old days before the equipment available now was used. Effective but pretty rough and ready and no drugged up customers, only drunks    Chas and Dennis Meek answered our many questions about the service. At the start there were no Sheilas  but these days women account for 51 percent of ambos. Chas told us that currently there are 7 helicopters, 5 fixed winged aircraft and many Stryker stretchers  that just about do everything a human used to do in lifting and transferring.  The Service is now completely government funded.

The museum started off in Thomastown and moved to its current location in Bayswater 3.5 years ago.  One of the recent highlights for the ambulance museum volunteers was the discovery of an old 1988 ambulance bus parked in a field near Whittlesea Hospital which they duly purchased at a small cost of 1,500 dollars.  It is in the process of being painted and overhauled now

The museum is full of vintage ambulances and a very, very vintage old open cart. Imagine how uncomfortable that would have been for the patients    Thoughts of the First World War and horse drawn open carriages came to mind. For those of us venturing upstairs there was a long room full of ancient litters which looked similarly uncomfortable until the more modern ones were reached at the far end of the room.

Jane Johnson