The Unveiling of the Launceston Municipal Council Ambulance 27/10/2023
Mick Peart, Terry Jones, Ashley Monks and Paul Herdzik
From The Examiner, September 10, 1921
"New ambulance for city"
"Complete with lights and splints"
“A splendid new motor ambulance has been provided for the ailing in Launceston.
Recently inspected by the Mayor, Ald. A.W. Monds, and the committee appointed by the city council to deal with the question of provision of ambulances, the new ambulance was pronounced very satisfactory.
I see from the pages of The Examiner that the new motor ambulance has been converted from a horse-drawn vehicle by Mr F.Paine, carriage builder. It is to be utilised for infectious cases while there will also be one available for cases of sickness and accident.
The vehicle is equipped in a most up-to-date fashion with the latest and best appliances, including two portable stretchers, and three drawers containing up to date requisites, first aid outfit, splints etc.
The body of the ambulance is of cedar panelling and English ash, and is painted in carmine with
Mick Peart, Terry Jones, Ashley Monks and Paul Herdzik
Small Torque June 2023 — Page 23
white panels and a red cross.
The two headlights are electric, but acetylene lamps are installed at the sides and inside the ambulance.”
The restoration has been a fantastic club activity keeping busy and engaged all who wished to get involved, or even as spectators offering advice.
To construct a vehicle as close as possible to the original is truly remarkable, with only some faded black & white photos from nearly 100 years ago to go on.
Special thanks must be given to Terry Jones, who has owned the vehicle for many years, and has put a lot of time and funds into its restoration, but wasn’t sure how to do the timber work. So about 3 years ago he asked “Can anyone help me get started with this?”
And of course to Mick Peart and Paul Herdzik who put their hands up and said “yes, we can do that” and have devoted every Friday morning and more to the effort. And I came along at the last minute and did the upholstery.
Theres still a few small jobs to go like getting the electricals period correct, but it starts, goes, stops and is nearly ready for another patient.
Bob Wickham
Todays Unveiling of the First Launceston Ambulance restored. A modern  Ambulance was there along with two Paramedics ( Thank You Guys) The decendents of the Original Owners where there too.
The First time it was mobile after restoration
The Restoration Crew

18 Nov 2023  LAUNCESTON
Day one of the 1926 Dodge restoration.
Timelapse of 48 minutes condensed into 38 seconds
Finished - the Launceston Municipal Council Ambulance
Terry Jones discovered that what he had wasn’t just another 29 Dodge, but a piece of history that deserved some attention, and he soon learned that restoring it may not be a simple process.
He was the custodian of a vehicle that had played an important part in the history of Launceston.
The citys ambulance began its life as a horse drawn conveyance, before the horse was replaced by a Ford Model T, and finally a 1929 6 cylinder Dodge which continued serving the community until the early 50’s.
After retirement it passed through several hands including, at one point, VCCA TAS.
Used as a chook shed, burnt, dismantled and bits spread far and wide, the Launceston Municipal Council ambulance was a far cry from being the ‘state of the art’ emergency vehicle that had served the city with pride in the 20s, 30s and 40s.
Terry has owned the vehicle since 1994 and it spent the next 15 years or so in storage while he retrieved much of the original ironwork from previous owners. The restoration began in 2010, stripping the chassis, rebuilding the motor, panel beating and most other mechanical aspects, but rebuilding the coachwork, the part that makes it an actual ambulance, was proving a little difficult.
In 2020 he came to the Northern section clubrooms and asked if there was anyone who could give him a hand, just to get him started in the right direction and to a point where he could continue. His timing was perfect as the Friday morning crew had just finished the timber work in Barry Parkers 1934 Morris Minor and were wondering what to do next.
After lots of head scratching as no detailed plans were available for the original ambulance body, a way forward was decided using old black & white photographs, the salvaged ironwork and one original window as a template.
Mick Peart and Paul Herdzik devoted many hours to this project, and along with Terry were the main drivers, but many members played a part offering advice or skills where they could. Ashley Monks, Kelvin Callahan, Joe Clippingdale, Terry Campbell, Barry Parker, Arie Vandenberg to name just a few.
The seat was based on photographs and what we thought was fitting for the era, and
Small Torque December 2023 — Page 23
And our next project - sticking with the Dodge theme, a 1926 Dodge Tourer. Last registered in 1954 and spent the years since on a property in the Nunamara area. As they say in the ads “ran when parked”.
We’re yet to really assess what’s required but no doubt it’ll be a lot of work. It’s all there but obviously hasn’t run for a while, but it’ll keep us busy and engaged.
upholstered by me in black leather.
The ambulance is now finished and was presented to the public at a celebration on October 27th attended by the local press and paramedics from the Tasmanian Ambulance Service with a modern ambulance.
A little video of the drive home can be seen here:
Our club was built on the values of promoting the restoration and use of vintage vehicles and the friendships and social connections forged along the way, so what better way than for club members to get together to restore a piece of Tasmanian history.
And now onto to our next project.
Bob Wickham
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