A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ASSOCIATION
Our aim is "to enhance pre-hospital patient care, by providing representation and support for the well being of Volunteer Ambulance Officers in Tasmania"
The Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association of Tasmania was formed in 1996. It represents all ambulance volunteers in Tasmania, regardless of their individual affiliation.
Concerned at inequities between volunteer units in different areas of the State, Colin Dell (a volunteer on the Tasman Peninsula) convened the first meeting at Tarraleah, in March 1996. Less than a week after the Port Arthur tragedy - the horrific event of April 28th seeming to unite volunteers more strongly than ever - more than 20 people met again at Tarraleah, adopted a Constitution and elected Office Bearers; the Association becoming Incorporated on June 6th 1996.
As the first Association of VAOs in Australia, our President attended an EMS Conference on the Gold Coast in 1997, and presented a paper on 'How to do it'.
In 2000, the Association received funding from Emergency Management Australia (EMA) for the MORE THAN A BAND-AID project, which ran from late August 2000 to the end of May 2001.
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED project was the next project to be undertaken, and was completed in May 2002. It's goals included developing a clearer understanding of the factors affecting VAO recruitment and retention, reducing attrition rates and increasing preparedness and capacity of communities, particularly rural and remote communities to respond to emergencies and disasters. The project was National and State Winner in the EMA Australian Safer Communities Awards (Researcher or Research Body).
The Association was a pivotal member of the Ambulance 2020 coalition, formed in 2007 to lobby the state goverment for adequate and sustainble funding for ambulance services in Tasmania.
2008 saw the emergence of Association-sponsored VAO "Gatherings", events held twice a year around the state for volunteers to gather for a weekend, renew friendships, learn new skills and have some fun together. One of the unique features of these Gatherings, in recognition of the countless hours volunteers contribute, is that they are free to partcipants.
Click here to read eulogies for Volunteer Ambulance Officers who are no longer with us.
Life Membership is an honour bestowed in appreciation for service to the Association.
The Volunteer Ambulance Offiers Association of Tasmania occassionally grants Life Membership to a member who has given extraorinary service to the Association. There are currently six Life Members:
- Margaret Dennis (Volunteer Ambulance Officer in Avoca; Treasurer, and a past Secretary of the Association)
for long, faithful and committed service to the Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association as foundation Secretary, magazine editor, and web master
- Phil Dennis (former Volunteer Ambulance Officer in Rossarden)
for long, and often unrecognised service to the Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association as support and guide in the fields of treasurer and book keeping, magazine production and web maintenance.
- Grant Lennox (former Chief Executive Officer of Ambulance Tasmania)
for championing the role and importance of VAO’s in Tasmania, and for active and steadfast advocacy of and support for our Association from its beginnings
- Dianne Coon (Volunteer Ambulance Officer in Strahan; Secretary, and a past President, of the Association)
in recognition of her long, faithful and committed service to the Volunteer Ambulance Officers Association of Tasmania.
The Association has achieved an incredible amount in its fourteen years.
Dianne Coon (a volunteer in Strahan) now represents all State ambulance services on the Council of Ambulance Authorities and on the Australian Emergency Management Volunteer Forum.
This website has attracted interest from over 50 countries.
Our quarterly newsletter First Response keeps all VAOs up-to-date with a mix of useful information and fun articles.
In 2000, the Association received funding from Emergency Management Australia for the MORE THAN A BAND-AID project.
STAND UP AND BE COUNTED was the National and State Winner in the EMA Australian Safer Communities Awards .
The Association was a pivotal member of the Ambulance 2020 coalition, lobbying the state goverment for adequate and sustainble funding for ambulance services in Tasmania.
Consistent lobbying of the government has increased the number of dedicated volunteer educators from one to four. We're now working on getting staff dedicated to volunteer recruitment, retention and support.
Highly successful VAO Gatherings have been held at:
- the Lea (Hobart 2008)
- Weindorfers (Gowrie Park 2008)
- Camp Banksia (Port Sorell 2009)
- Gumleaves (Little Swanport 2009).
The next Gathering is planned for King Island in May 2010.
DAYS GONE BY
Click on the 'read more' link below to see several photographs of old vehicles and a brief history of Ambulance Tasmania.read more
Letter from Chief Secretary's Department to Board of Management in Launceston, 1910
Ambulance built by F. Paine & Sons, early carriage builders in Launceston
Invoice from F. Paine & Sons for Ambulance built in 1910
Ambulance fitted out in the event of pneumonic influenza, 1915
Ambulance contract work at Newnham Racing Club, 1919
Brief history of Ambulance Tasmania
Ambulances Not So Long Ago
Dodges Ferry & District