PIONEER: William Tomkins.
PIONEER: William Tomkins.

Story of the man behind city's first ambulance station

WILLIAM Tomkins was born in 1870 at Leixlip, Kildare, in Ireland, and migrated to Australia when he was 13, arriving in Townsville.

In 1885 he came to Brisbane, aged 15, and served his time as an upholsterer, and interested himself in first-aid and ambulance work. He became volunteer member of the Brisbane Ambulance Corp of the Queensland Defence Force.

He began with the City Ambulance Transport Brigade in 1892, aged 22, as a foundation member.

He was on duty at the Brisbane Races when requested to perform the first transport. He then performed the first transport from Taringa to New Farm with Seymour Warrian on November 5, 1892.

In 1893, he was elected treasurer of the City Ambulance Transport Brigade and in 1895 he was promoted to senior bearer.

He was then appointed deputy superintendent in 1901 to establish ambulance services in the Ipswich area.

William developed the service from the litter, to the horse and sulky, a motorised fleet and the building at the Corner Downs and Flint Sts, North Ipswich.

He further established ambulance services at Redbank, Lowood, Laidley, Yarraman, Esk and Harrisville.

He is buried in an unmarked grave within the Ipswich General Cemetery.



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