Is the Lane Cove Ambulance Closed or Not Closed? – You Be the Judge

    If you drive past the Lane Cove Ambulance Station you would be forgiven for thinking the ambulance station is closed.  All signage has been removed and the ambulance bay doors are firmly shut.   On Wednesday 2 May 2018, ITC spoke to a staff member at the Lane Cove Ambulance station who told ITC the station had closed and she was just at the station as they were servicing a vehicle. She advised ITC that all the staff were now located at the Artarmon Superstation.

    However, a spokesperson for the NSW Ambulance told ITC that the Lane Cove Ambulance Station was not closed.  NSW Ambulance released the following statement to In the Cove:

    Local staff now start and finish their shift at the modern, new Artarmon superstation but may be deployed to the existing Lane Cove Ambulance Station during their shift based on operational need 

    Lane Cove Ambulance Station 1 May 2018

    What is the Artarmon Superstation?

    A new Ambulance Superstation has been opened at 99 Reserve Road Artarmon.

    NSW Ambulance began operations in March from the brand new, modern Artamon superstation, one of the nine superstations being built across the Sydney metropolitan area as part of the NSW Government’s $150 million Sydney Ambulance Metropolitan Infrastructure Strategy (SAMIS) program.

    An NSW Ambulance statement said:

    Artarmon superstation provides a vastly improved base of operations for staff, allowing access to significantly enhanced training facilities and amenities and the introduction of a logistics team to clean and re-stock ambulances ready for operations.

    It is a key hub for local paramedics and support staff, providing:

    • Parking bays for ambulance vehicles
    • Administration, office areas and amenities
    • On site staff parking
    • A logistics and storage area.

     

    Artarmon Ambulance Superstation Reserve Road Artarmon
    Artarmon Ambulance Superstation Reserve Road Artarmon

    History of the Lane Cove Ambulance Station

    An observant ITC follower told us that the signage had been removed and he asked ITC if we could find out about the history of the Ambulance Station in Lane Cove.  We thought that was a great idea.  We asked the terrific team at the Lane Cove Library Local Studies Section to help us find out some information (and they did not disappoint).

    Land Purchased in 1942

    The Lane Cove Ambulance Station Land was purchased from Mr H Stevens for £2 500 in October 1942.  The NSW Ambulance Service, after examining the existing building, decided that only minimal alterations were needed to convert the premises into an Ambulance Station to accommodate one ambulance officer and their family.

    It appears this was not to be and the ground floor of the ambulance premises was leased to M W E Nott as proprietor of the Lane Cove Bus Co Pty Ltd in 1947.

    In 1954 the need for an ambulance station in the Lane Cove Area was again discussed by the NSW Ambulance Service.   It was agreed that an ambulance branch station should be located in Lane Cove and it was recommended the lease to the Lane Cove Bus Co Pty Ltd (which had changed their name to Hercules Motors Ltd) be terminated.

    Lane Cove Ambulance Station Opened in 1958

    In 1957 F N Jeffress Pty Ltd was awarded the contract to construct the ambulance station for a cost of £21 345.

    The Minister for Health the Hon W F Sheahan QC MLA officially opened the new ambulance station on 30 August 1958. As you can see it was a big occasion with the crowd spilling out on to Burns Bay Road.

    Photo from the Ambulance Service of Sydney 1894 -1976 by Clement Deeth
    Central District Ambulance station, 204 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove. Junction of Centennial Avenue and Burns Bay Road, 1987. Photographer John Prescott. (Courtesy of Lane Cove Library)

    Lane Cove Community Donates an Intensive Care Ambulance

    In 1978 the Lane Cove Lions raised money for an Intensive Care Ambulance.  The Lane Cove Lions president was Brian Holgate.  Holgate is a very famous name in Lane Cove with Holgate Real Estate being in Lane Cove for over 50 years.  Ironically the Holgate name has recently vanished from Lane Cove after being purchased by Belle Property.  However, the Holgate name lives on with Tim Holgate still in Lane Cove and working at Belle Property Lane Cove.

    Brian Holgate was very much behind the project as his father suffered a fatal heart attack.  His mother requested, on the death of her husband, that donations be made to the Intensive Care Ambulance Project.  A young local politician, Mr John Howard, was very much in support of the idea.   Money for the Intensive Care Ambulance was also raised by Patrick Grimes and Co (a name that still survives in Lane Cove).

    Photo from For The Love of Life by Dennis Rogan. Mr Brian Holgate is shaking the Hon John Howard’s hand.

    Lane Cove Ambulance Building Sold in 2002

    Perhaps the writing was on the wall in 2002 when the Lane Cove Ambulance freehold was sold to a private investor for $1 235 000.  It was not a popular decision.  According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald – “The auction in the city attracted a small group of protesters concerned that the sites could eventually be turned into commercial or residential developments.”   The land was leased back to the Ambulance Service for a minimum period of 10 years.  At the time the building was sold, the Lane Cove Council General Manager, Mr Peter Wong, told the North Shore Times, that he was not aware of the sale.  He further said it did not concern the Lane Cove Council as long as the service continued in Lane Cove.

    Lane Cove Ambulance Station as Part of the Community

    The Lane Cove Ambulance station has played an important role in the Lane Cove Community.  It’s the last of the essential services to have a base in Lane Cove with the Lane Cove police station closed and staff relocated to Chatswood and the Lane Cove Fire Station located in Artarmon.

    In the mid-nineties, ITC made my first and only call to the NSW Ambulance.  My father had collapsed in front of me and was not responding.  Even though it felt like ages, the Lane Cove Ambulance arrived and took him to the North Shore Hospital Emergency Ward.  He had a pacemaker inserted a few days later.   I really can’t tell you how long it was for the ambulance to arrive but it felt like ages.

    Since ITC has been operating we have only had one complaint about local ambulance response times.  In March this year (around the time of the opening of the new superstation), an ITC roving reporter advised that an elderly lady had collapsed at the Lane Cove newsagents.  She was ably attended by a retired nurse and the shop owner. They called an ambulance, and then when it didn’t show in a reasonable time, called again. The poor lady was still on the floor and very obviously unwell. An hour later, she was still there. Evidently, it was a ‘busy morning’ and an ambulance was coming from Gordon. The roving reporter said the Ambulance had still not arrived when they left the newsagency.

    Have you noticed any activity at the Lane Cove Ambulance Station in the last couple of months?  Do you think it is closed?

    What are your memories of the Lane Cove Ambulance Station?  We would love to speak to anyone who worked there or who has a story about the Ambulance station.  Please email us here to tell your story.


    Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at info@inthecove.com.au

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