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QVMAG Ambulance gains pride of place in Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience

QVMAG History Curator Jon Addison  and ABC News Journalist Damian McIntyre with the 1919 Model T Ford ambulance

QVMAG History Curator Jon Addison and ABC News Journalist Damian McIntyre with the 1919 Model T Ford ambulance

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience has borrowed one of QVMAG’s iconic motor vehicles for its community zone.

The ambulance was commissioned by the City of Launceston in 1919 in readiness for a likely outbreak of pneumonic influenza. A major influenza or ‘spanish flu’ epidemic had been sweeping the world in the aftermath of the First World War, causing widespread deaths and illness.

Tasmania put many measures in place to try to control the spread of the epidemic, including restrictions on Bass Strait travel, temporary emergency centres, and commissioning emergency vehicles such as this one.

The ambulance is a Model T Ford. The chassis and engine of the vehicle were built in 1914 in Canada, and imported to Tasmania. The bodywork was built by Paines of Launceston in 1919, with the design based on ambulances used in the First World War.

It was used in service as an ambulance until about 1924. After this it had a number of owners, and was used for many purposes, including carting wood near Pipers River.

The bodywork was repaired and restored by its last owner, Robert Colgrave of George Town.

The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience is on display at Silverdome from Saturday 26 September 2015 until Friday 2 October.

Picture:  Damian McIntyre and Jon Addison

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