Queensland Ambulance Service – History in Pictures

The Queensland Ambulance Service was established on September 12, 1892 with the formation of the the City Ambulance Transport Brigade in Brisbane. The idea of forming a civil ambulance service was initiated by Seymour Warrian of the Ambulance Corps in the Queensland Defence Force, after an accident that occurred during the Brisbane Exhibition. A horse rider had fractured his leg when his horse fell. The injured rider was assisted by well meaning but untrained bystanders and made to walk on his leg to reach a nearby cab.

When the Brisbane brigade was formed they were given a room in the Brisbane Courier newspaper building and a stretcher was built. Bearers on night duty slept on rolls of newspapers with bed linen supplied by the Immigration Department.

Horse pulling an ambulance through Brisbane streets ca. 1897. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189469

Horse pulling an ambulance through Brisbane streets ca. 1897. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189469

Their first patient was transported from Taringa to a private hospital in New Farm on 5 November 1892 and the brigade didn’t acquire a telephone until January the following year. Over time ambulance services slowly began to form around regional areas of Queensland.

State Library of Queensland holds a large collection of photographs and books documenting the history of ambulance services throughout Queensland. You can view a full list of resources on our One Search catalogue. Below is a sample of images from our collection.

Brisbane ambulance officers posing on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached to it. ca.1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 343

Brisbane ambulance officers posing on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached to it. ca.1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 343

Brisbane ambulance workers posing in front of a wheeled litter ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg Brisbane ambulance officers posing on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached to it. ca.1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 22274

Brisbane ambulance workers posing in front of a wheeled litter ca. 1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg Brisbane ambulance officers posing on a buggy with a wheeled litter attached to it. ca.1898. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 22274

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade officers posing in front of their Head Office in Wharf Street, Brisbane 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 185641

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade officers posing in front of their Head Office in Wharf Street, Brisbane 1901. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 185641

Ravenswood Ambulance Brigade Headquarters 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 199962

Ravenswood Ambulance Brigade Headquarters 1902. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 199962

First ambulance building in Toowoomba ca. 1903. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3361

First ambulance building in Toowoomba ca. 1903. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3361

Ambulance Officers preparing to transport an injured Central Queensland Meat Export Co. worker, ca.1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 49258

Ambulance Officers preparing to transport an injured Central Queensland Meat Export Co. worker, ca.1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 49258

Queensland Ambulance office, Ipswich 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189478

Queensland Ambulance office, Ipswich 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189478

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade centre at Warwick ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 2560

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade centre at Warwick ca. 1905. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 2560

Ambulance Offices in Townsville ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204652

Ambulance Offices in Townsville ca. 1906. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 204652

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Bundaberg ca.1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 143841

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Bundaberg ca.1907. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 143841

Early motor ambulance carrying a two wheeled covered stretcher 1910-1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3396

Early motor ambulance carrying a two wheeled covered stretcher 1910-1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3396

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade officer at Southport 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189853

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade officer at Southport 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189853

Ambulance in Warwick ca. 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3371

Ambulance in Warwick ca. 1912. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3371

Official opening of the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade building Maryborough Street, Bundaberg ca. 1913. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3370

Official opening of the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade building Maryborough Street, Bundaberg ca. 1913. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3370

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade at Canungra ca. 1915. First Q.A.T.B. building in Pine Creek Road, Canungra. Ambulance officers are: Matt Braiden; J. Lawton; Sid Auld; Mr. Tyson; and unidentified man. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 47017

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade at Canungra ca. 1915. First Q.A.T.B. building in Pine Creek Road, Canungra. Ambulance officers are: Matt Braiden; J. Lawton; Sid Auld; Mr. Tyson; and unidentified man. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 47017

Rail ambulance near Charters Towers ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3468

Rail ambulance near Charters Towers ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3468

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade building, Mount Morgan ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 14846

Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade building, Mount Morgan ca. 1920. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 14846

Rail ambulance at Roma ca. 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 66398

Rail ambulance at Roma ca. 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 66398

Side view of an ambulance showing the bed ready for a patient, Kingaroy 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg Rail ambulance at Roma ca. 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189459

Side view of an ambulance showing the bed ready for a patient, Kingaroy 1923. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg Rail ambulance at Roma ca. 1921. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 189459

Ambulance car decorated for St. Patricks Day procession at Dalby ca. 1925. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3465

Ambulance car decorated for St. Patricks Day procession at Dalby ca. 1925. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 3465

Gympie Ambulance Centre at Crown Road, Gympie ca. 1926. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 4260

Gympie Ambulance Centre at Crown Road, Gympie ca. 1926. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 4260

Kingaroy Ambulance being pulled across the Boyne River ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 149386

Kingaroy Ambulance being pulled across the Boyne River ca. 1928. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 149386

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander November 6 1930. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 702692-19301106-s001b

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander November 6 1930. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 702692-19301106-s001b

Ambulance station at Mount Isa, 1939. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 67998

Ambulance station at Mount Isa, 1939. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 67998

Queensland Ambulance and Transport Board QATB headquarters in Marsh Street, Stanthorpe ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 140499

Queensland Ambulance and Transport Board QATB headquarters in Marsh Street, Stanthorpe ca. 1950. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 140499

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland