Community News

From Schaeffer House – Grafton Ambulance Station Brief Profile

Prior to 1924 the establishment of an Ambulance Service in Grafton is unclear, but it is known that a service did exist. Who was in charge and how the service was maintained and founded is not known. Through research it is believed that a building called the Ambulance Station was already erected at Market Square, Grafton in 1915. This was serviced by volunteers with a hand litter, and then later by horse drawn vehicle. 1921 saw the first motorised Ambulance, a Buick. 1925 saw the formation of the ‘Grafton Ambulance District’, this district came under the NSW Ambulance Transport Service Board. The District, as it was known then, extended from Evans Head to Macksville, along the coast, inland to Dorrigo and Ebor, with a half circle area from Ebor to Rappville then to the coast to at Evans Head. The early 1930s saw many problems at the Grafton Ambulance Station ranging from financial problems which led to rationing of work. This meant that Ambulance officers were only paid for three weeks out of four. Staff problems also arose. This however was a temporary situation which was terminated when times were better. The existing Ambulance Station in Market Square had also become too small to house the new bigger vehicles. Mr D J Lobban was elected to prepare and submit a scheme outlaying costs and plans for a new two storey brick building to be built on Crown Land, at the corner of Prince and Fry Streets in Grafton. The foundation stone was laid by Mr D J Lobban on March 28, 1936 and the station was officially opened by Mr Shand, Assistant Minister of Public Health on 24 June 1936.