New St John Ambulance Museum now open


Museum, launch, medical history, building, Unley

The St John Ambulance Museum has now moved into its new home on the corner of Edmund Avenue and Rugby Street, Unley. It was officially opened on Sunday 5 May by Professor John Pearn, Priory Librarian St John Australia. Pearn is also the Emeritus, School of Medicine, University of Queensland and Senior Paediatrician of the Royal Children Hospital Queensland. Pearn unveiled a replica of the 900 year old Papal Bull that marks the beginning of the original Knights Hospitallers, who were the inspiration of today’s St John.

Special guests included the Honourable David Pisoni, State Member for Unley and Shadow Minister for Education, His Worship the Mayor, Lachlan Clyne and Glen Brewer, the Chairman of the Board of St John Ambulance and Sharyn Mitten, St John SA Chief Executive.  Dr Brian Fotheringham, President of the St John Ambulance Historical Society was Master of Ceremonies.

The museum is dedicated to exhibiting, collecting and researching the work of St John volunteers over its centuries’ long history.  The museum has a large collection of artefacts, photographs, documents and uniforms.  A key feature of the new museum is the painting of Sir Edward Hayward, who was chairman of the Council of St John from 1950 to 1976 and then President from 1976-1986. Sir Edward organised for St John to take over the State’s ambulance Service in the 1950s.

With the invaluable help of their advisor Yvonne Routledge, the museum has completed its significance assessment and preservation study and has begun the work of documenting and conserving its collection. In the current round the museum received a National Library Community Heritage Grant to rehouse its photographic collection in archival materials.

The project is now well underway. Folders, binders, protector sheets, divider cards and photographic corners were purchased from Albox Pty Ltd. Volunteers are now spending time sorting through approximately 8,000 photographs dividing them into subject areas and assembling them into the archival folders. Many of the photographs have information on their content but there is also considerable research needed in identifying those without information.

There are many tasks ahead for the dedicated volunteer team as they open to visitors and continue the work on documenting and preserving this fascinating collection.

The museum will be open to the public during the About Time History Festival on Friday 10, 17 and 24 May, 11 am to 3 pm and Saturday 11 May and Sunday 19 May from 11 am to 4 pm.

From June onwards the museum will be open the following times:

Wednesdays: 1 – 4 pm; Fridays: 10 am – 1 pm; Sundays: 1 – 4 pm or by appointment.

More photographs from the launch can be seen here 


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Thanks Pauline, great review and photos of our new Museum.
My pleasure. It was a great launch party, and the museum looks terrific. You should all be very proud. I hope you get lots of visitors throughout the history festival.
hi i was wondering if you could help me on  some information on a 1970  holden st johns ambulance i am restoring most of the photos i  can find are in black and white did the 1970 holden have black and white signage on them or was it in red thanking you for any help you can give RON  RUSSELL 
Hi Ron What an interesting project - are you in south Australia? Is this for yourself or for a historical group?  I'll check with the St Johns Museum and get back to you.
from a colour photo of a 1971 Holden HG ambulance vehicle the words St John Ambulance are along the side of the car and are black with a red outline around the words on both sides of the car.  The round St John badge is in black and white and is on the front doors with 2 smaller round badges on the back lift down door -  this photo is in the St John Museum at 72 Edmund Ave Unley.

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