Dungog ambos celebrate station’s 50th birthday

Dungog ambulance station office Peter Harrison serves morning tea to former auxiliary member Jean Robertson.After more than 80 years of collective fundraising it was time for the remaining members of the Dungog and Stroud district ambulance ladies auxiliary to be waited on.

On Saturday Dungog ambulance station celebrated its 50th birthday and station officer Peter Harrison made sure the ladies, whose fundraising enabled its construction, were well looked after.

Jean Robertson, Jean Germon, Daphne Oades, Doris Higgins, Margaret Cross, Norma Nugent and Barbara Bagster worked tirelessly with weekly housie, street stalls, Christmas fairs and other fundraisers which not only helped to build the station, but pay the wages of the ambulance officers.

Mr Harrison served morning tea to each of the ladies in delicate cups and saucers – just how it was done 50 years ago.

“We never had tea bags in those days,” said Jean Robertson who worked on the auxiliary for more than 14 years.

After the ladies were served other former ambulance officers, their families and members of the Dungog and Stroud community joined in the morning tea.

The station was constructed by Oscar Hannan and officially opened by MLC Leon Punch on May 26, 1962.

While the day was informal with many enjoying catching up with friends and former associates, three paramedics received long service and good conduct medals.

Peter Harrison received a second clasp to his current medal for 30 years of service, and Bill Rathbone from Stroud who joined the service in 1999 and Dungog’s Graeme Scrive who joined 1998, each received long service and good conduct medals.

One of the special guests was Professor John Overton OAM.

Paramedic Darren Hicks said Professor Overton was one of several doctors who discussed “taking the emergency department to the patient”.

“They were initially ridiculed but Dr Bob Wright, Professor Michael O’Rourke and Professor Overton persisted and developed what was known as the Advanced Life Support officers course,” Mr Hicks said.

“The first course was conducted in 1976 and Professor Overton has been a great supporter for 40 years.

“Professor Overton has become a great friend to the staff of the Dungog station and his knowledge and experience is unsurpassed and his willingness to impart knowledge is unmatched.”

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