Today as we celebrate St John the Baptist Day around the world with our brothers and sisters from St John Ambulance, we acknowledge the proud history we have and the continuing legacy we lead today by providing care to the sick and injured in our communities.
St John Ambulance owes its origin to the Knights Hospitaller, the monks and crusading knights who cared for the sick and injured pilgrims in Jerusalem in 1080. St John Ambulance gets its name from a hospital it built on the grounds of an old orthodox church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist in 1060. Among the romance of knights, castles and fleets of ships, the Knights Hospitaller always built hospitals wherever they went, helping to care for the sick and injured in their communities. The Knights Hospitaller order still exists today as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
In 1877, a new British Order of St John began an Association that trained people to provide first aid skills. By 1887 students from these courses joined together to operate volunteer ambulance services, met to practice their first aid skills, and began attending public events as teams birthing the St John Ambulance Brigade. The first event attended in Canberra ACT by the St John Ambulance Brigade was the opening of Provisional Parliament House (now called Old Parliament House) in 1929 by a team from Sydney. The association training and brigade work in the ACT had a shaky start from the 1940s, which solidified in 1979 when St John Ambulance ACT became a separate district from NSW. Since then, the St John Ambulance Association has transformed into St John Ambulance Australia (ACT) Incorporated, and the brigade has transformed into the Event Health Services arm of Community Programs.
As we continue to care for our community by delivering lifesaving first aid through training, equipment and volunteer services we can remind ourselves of the impact those before us have had and the lives we are impacting now. St John Ambulance Australia ACT celebrates and gives thanks to its hardworking staff and volunteers both past and present.
If you would like to learn more about the History of St John Ambulance click one of the links below:
- St John Ambulance Museum: https://museumstjohn.org.uk/
- St John Ambulance ACT – History Presentation on 23rd June 2021