Our History

Before 1900

1882 was the first year of activity for the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association and 173 cases of accident and sudden illness were removed from the streets of Glasgow and taken to hospital by litter. That year the association provided itself with one ambulance.

In 1899, the Royal Charter was granted, being registered and signed on 02 May the sixty-second year of Queen Victoria’s reign.

At a council meeting in that same year, it was agreed that they carry on the work of the Red Cross Society in Scotland. Following upon this resolution, the Central British Red Cross Committee recognized St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association as a branch of Red Cross work in Scotland.

1900 to 2000

In 1900, the Association sent a Base Hospital to South Africa free of charge to the War Office. In 1908, the Council reported on the arrangements by which, on mobilization, the Association would undertake to assume charge of the Military Hospitals in Scotland. During the Great War, the Association was requested by the War Office to furnish St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association units for active service; where they served in casualty clearing stations in France and on hospital ships for the duration.

St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association Australia was established as a company under Scottish Charter on 05 April 1976 by the Director General St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association, Dr. Daniel Strachan, OBE.

Under the patronage of legendary WW2 POW Surgeon, Colonel Sir Ernest Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, AC, CMG, OBE, the first Australian Director was Artillery Officer Major General Sir Denzil MacArthur-Onzlow, CBE, DSO, ED who commanded the 4th Armored Brigade during WW2 and with Vietnam War Doctor, Group Captain William Land, AM, RFD, AE appointed Surgeon-in-Chief.

The first Companies were formed at RAAMC Military Hospital Healesville, Victoria, and St. Kilda Private Hospital, Victoria.

On 02 September 1980, our main base of operations had moved to the Ballarat East Company established at Begonia Hospital, Victoria.

Over the years the organization grew steadily, and members served in many countries including: Armenia, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Chechnya, El Salvador, Iraq, Lebanon, and Rwanda, assisting a wide variety of Non-Government Organizations. This year we had two members volunteering in PNG and Timor-Leste.

2000 to present

On 28 September 2006, the Association incorporated under the name ‘St. Andrew’s First Aid Australia Inc’ (SAFAA) and reformed the Board of Management under the Chairmanship of Tom Hazell, AO. Steven McRae became the Chief Executive Officer and David Alexander-Fleming, JP moved to the position of Vice Chair and Corps Advisor. The Association re-engaged with St. Andrew’s First Aid in Scotland and refocused its primary aim to providing first aid with the same trading name as in Scotland.

In 2007, we recommenced public duties, providing first aid services at the Ringwood Highland Games, RSL Marches, The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation Camps, to name a few of our long standing events, and, we began in partnership with Australian Premier Learning (our RTO) to once again offer courses in First Aid.

On 24 May 2008 Dr Anthony Cree, OAM, PhD succeeded Tom Hazell as Chairman and in 2009 Malcolm and Joy Murray, the Earl and Countess of Dunmore became Australian Patrons.

In January 2009, the Commandant-in-Chief and honorary surgeon to the Queen, Colonel Douglas Bremner, TD, conducted an inspection of St. Andrew’s First Aid Australia during a private visit.

On 01 December 2011, Charity Status was granted and St. Andrew’s First Aid Australia Incorporated became a Public Benevolent Institution.

On 23 November 2012 David Alexander-Fleming became President and CEO. We commenced a very successful program with the Australian Army Cadets in Victoria providing them with first aid equipment and training.

In 2016; our fortieth year in operation in Australia, we recommenced establishing First Aid Companies in Victoria. We began exploring different revenue streams and ways to ensure our sustainability. We established the ‘Society of St. Andrew’ to embrace individuals who wish to support us without joining the Association. Our first Search & Rescue Support Company was also established to support the State Emergency Services (SES) when deployed in the field.

In 2017 we formed St. Andrew’s First Aid Pipes and Drums and commenced negotiations with the Victorian State Government about establishing a role for us in the Emergency Control Organization (ECO).

In 2018, The 15th Earl of Loudoun, Simon Abney-Hastings, became the Chairman of the Board of Governors, and six long serving members were presented with their Voluntary Medical Service Medal by the UK Consul General for Victoria Chris Holtby, OBE.

We also fundraised and sent three trainers to PNG to increase the level of first aid knowledge along the Kokoda Track.

On 21 May 2018, Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne The Princess Royal, became the Royal Patron of SAFAA.