Flashing Lights Newsletter

The St John NT Monthly Newsletter

Flashing Lights Newsletter | St John Ambulance
2020 Aug

Welcome all to our Flashing Lights newsletter

Welcome to August, I trust that everyone has been keeping well as we move forward into another busy and exciting month in the Territory.

I am pleased to share that last week, St John NT was able to hold our annual Investiture ceremony at Government House to celebrate our outstanding and committed volunteers. Though the evening was much smaller in size due to social distancing regulations, it was a beautiful evening in which we celebrated important milestones.

This year, 8 members were duly selected for promotion within the Order of St John. Amongst those was John Robinson, who is a pillar in the Northern Territory community. He and his wife Patricia, who was awarded the Priory Vote of Thanks Award, are long-term supporters of St John and we are honoured to welcome John into the Order of St John.

We also had 22 members reach significant years of service, including Lesley King and Peter Poole who have rendered forty years of dedicated service to the Order. Several of our Cadets were also honoured with the Grand Priors Badge. This major accomplishment is awarded to those who earn 12 Proficiency Badges over at least three years.

I would like to congratulate all of those recognised at Investiture this year and thank you for your service to our community. I would also like to thank all of those who had a part in ensuring our ceremony could take place, including Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AO, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Deputy Prior of St John in the Northern Territory, who was recently reappointed as the Administrator for another two years.

Please remember to stay safe, as we have seen interstate, we must remain vigilant in our response to Covid-19 while enjoying all the Territory has to offer.

Judith Barker, CEO St John NT


Rio Tinto provides valuable support to St John NT’s Nhulunbuy operations

Staff and volunteers at St John NT’s Nhulunbuy Ambulance Station have welcomed the extra resource of a new operational support vehicle thanks to a $70,000 donation from Rio Tinto.

The donation forms part of Rio Tinto’s $1.1 million commitment to support East Arnhem communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

St John NT CEO Judith Barker welcomed the support and explained the vehicle provides increased local capacity for the St John NT team to respond, manage and provide an in-field medical command at significant events.

“This vehicle allows up to put in place plans to ramp up our response to community outbreaks of Covid-19. It provides additional capacity for the transport of personnel and equipment to the incident location and will support several regional events and service delivery within the region.”

Rio Tinto Gove Operations General Manager Alysia Tringrove said the contribution underlines Rio Tinto’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of the region and to provide resources to combat the effects of the pandemic.

“St John NT provides a vital service to remote and rural areas in the Northern Territory and this funding will help them continue to supply emergency care and other medical services to people in the East Arnhem region. “Rio Tinto’s St John NT investment is part of a US$25 million commitment Rio Tinto has made to support communities around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery,” Ms Tringrove said.

“This vehicle will go on to help the region beyond Covid-19,” Ms Barker said. “In the event of a major incident or cyclone, this will be the vehicle that responds first carrying extra lifesaving equipment.”

Emergency Medical Dispatcher Isaak joins the Stork Club

Last month, St John NT Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Isaak Bradford answered a Triple Zero (000) call from a mother in labour. Without a second of hesitation, he calmly provided clear instructions over the phone while the couple awaited an ambulance. In less than 10 minutes, the new baby was welcomed into the world.

“It was a privilege to assist the couple,” Isaak began. “Both the mother and son were happy and healthy, and transported to the hospital once the ambulance arrived.”

Upon assisting the couple with the birth of their son, Isaak was promptly welcomed to the exclusive Triple Zero (000) Stork Club with a badge and an award. This club recognises St John NT EMDs for their outstanding assistance in the successful delivery of a baby over the phone before an ambulance arrives. Isaak is the fourth EMD to be inducted in 2020.

Great work Isaak and congratulations to the new parents!

Celebrating Excellence: St John NT employees celebrate 5 years of service

Celebrating major milestones provides an opportunity to reflect on one’s journey and the achievement we have made along the way. None more so than those achieved by three St John NT staff who will soon celebrate milestone anniversaries with the organisation.

In Alice Springs, paramedic Gareth Aescht celebrates his fifth year with St John NT. Gareth’s compassion and dedication to the community was quickly recognised and he was awarded the prestigious Paramedic of the Year award in 2017. He soon welcomed added responsibilities as a duty manager and acting regional manager, as well as taking lead on projects such as the remote area response procedures and equipment and developing the Southern Region’s standard operating procedures.

“Gareth is well respected by his peers,” Regional Manager Paul Bellman said. “He undertakes the role of frontline leadership in his stride, offering support and mentorship to the Alice Springs team, greater Southern Region and the Territory wide service as a whole.”

In the northern region, Emergency Medical Dispatcher David Scaife and Patient Transport Officer Scott Reed also celebrate their fifth year with St John NT this month.

David was involved in all aspects of ambulance delivery from a young age. Watching his dad work as a paramedic and officer in charge inspired him to change careers from a diesel mechanic to an EMD. Over the past five years of service, David has celebrated many accomplishments including induction into the Triple Zero (000) Stork Club and being appointed a communications supervisor.

“David has worked hard during his career becoming an accomplished dispatcher,” Emergency Communication Centre Manager Craig Garraway said. “He works with his team to ensure the goals of the organisation are met and that we are the leading provider of first aid and ambulance services across the Territory.”

Beginning as a volunteer, Scott found his passion for helping people in times of sickness, distress, suffering, and danger. He achieved a high ranking position as a volunteer and eventually began his career with St John NT as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher before transitioning to a Patient Transport Officer.

“Scott is a relaxed kind of guy who is dependable on jobs,” Duty Manager Steve Schrieke expressed. “His easy going nature and great work ethic makes working with him both enjoyable and easy.” Congratulations to Gareth, David, and Scott!


Dana’s Story

Fascinated by human anatomy and physiology, Dana Schembri was thrilled to begin her Bachelor of Paramedical Science at Edith Cowan University. Though the program filled with exciting and interesting topics, Dana had only one issue – studying as an external student meant few opportunities for hands-on training. To fill this void, she looked to St John NT.

“I began volunteering in the Alice Springs Division by attending my first training night in July 2019,” Dana shared. “Initially, I saw volunteering purely as an opportunity for experience, but the more duties I worked the more I came to love it.”

Once Dana was appropriately trained and certified in first aid, she began attending public duties throughout the Alice Springs region. She had the opportunity to attend events both big and small, with her favourites being MotorX and the Uluru climb closure celebration. As she and her fellow volunteers provided crucial first aid to members of the community, Dana learned the importance of her duties.

“Our event health services allow all of the amazing events across the Territory to be possible,” Dana said. “It’s nice knowing we’re helping to create such a unique event culture.”

Though she has been gaining real-life experience and able to attend exciting events, Dana admits that there is a different reason as to why she continues volunteering. The volunteers within her Division have become an important part of her life and she looks forward to each meeting and public duty because of them.

“We have such a great team environment within the Alice Springs division,” Dana explained. “Apart from the eager team spirit, there’s a noticeable thirst for more knowledge. Training nights and duties are always a chance to learn more from our leaders and from each other.”

Are you interested in working in healthcare? St John NT volunteers are exposed to many opportunities and gain incredible experience. If you are ready to build your story, contact St John NT at (08) 8922 6205 or volunteers@stjohnnt.asn.au.

For more information, please visit www.stjohnnt.org.au/volunteering.


History snapshot by Frank Dunstan

Raising funds for St John Ambulance in Darwin

History snapshot


Have you heard of Danada Day? Most likely not unless you’re an old timer who was around in Darwin during the late 1950s to early 1960s.

Danada is an acronym for Darwin-National-Day and was a fundraiser for the St John Ambulance Brigade in Darwin. The very first Danada Day was held on the Picnic Day public holiday of Monday, 5th August 1957. The Northern Territory News described it thus:

In the morning, there will be a monster procession of decorated floats and marchers, with the emphasis on floats and contingents dressed in their national costumes. The procession will end at the reserve on the Esplanade where floats will be judged. A shield will be awarded to the best decorated float.

The international flavor will continue in the evening when a festival will be held at the Town Hall. Groups have been invited to attend, again in national costume, and to contribute items in the form of national songs and dances. The festival highlight will be the International Grand March and dance.

Many early newspapers are missing from the NT Library’s archives, and St John lost most of their records in cyclone Tracy, resulting in sketchy information about Danada in the following years. The 1960 parade was held on the August public holiday, and included more than 30 floats from business houses, Government departments, sporting groups and the Police and Citizens Youth Club. There was a Danada Queen who rode on the St John float. In those days there was a football oval on the Esplanade, which was the final destination of the parade. Trophies were awarded for the best floats, with prizes for the best marching girls team and group of marchers from a sporting organisation.

There was no parade in 1961, but they made up for it the following year. The NT News proclaimed the 1962 parade as the best ever. Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets to watch a

… colourful, mile-long procession of decorated floats, gleaming new motor vehicles, marching girls in glittering uniforms, two bands and other marchers …

Carnival time was on right from the moment the floats reached the Esplanade. With a brief lull during tea-time, stalls and side shows did a roaring trade with a hundred and one varieties of things to eat and drink plus knock-‘em-downs, coconut shys, and the usual fair games.

The 1962 Danada festival was so successful that they planned an even bigger event for the following year. It would be expanded into a week-long Festival of Arts ending with a procession and Gala Day on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. Fourteen southern sideshows were booked to operate on the Esplanade each night of the festival, and many other events were proposed.

Unfortunately, it never went ahead and the lack of records and old newspapers hide the reason for this. In July 1965, the Darwin City Council held a month long Festival of Darwin along the same lines as the proposed week-long Danada festival. Though the Brigade lost an important fundraiser, they continued to receive donations from the Festival committee.

Frank Dunstan
SJANT Volunteer Historian

Did you know? – First Aid Advice

Did you know that recovery position is important to keep the airways open as well as to avoid choking? Unconscious patients who are breathing should be placed in this position and monitored until help arrives.

Recovery Position

If a patient is unconscious, follow DRSABCD. If the patient does not require CPR, place them in recovery position.


If the patient is an adult or child over 1 year of age...

  1. With the patient on their back, kneel beside them and position their arms:
    1. Place the patient’s furthest arm directly out from their body
    2. Place their nearest arm across their chest
  2. Position the patient’s legs:
    1. Lift the patient’s nearest leg at the knee and place their foot on the floor so the leg in bent
  3. Roll the patient into position:
    1. Roll the patient away from you onto their side, carefully supporting their head and neck the whole time
    2. Keep the patient’s leg bent with their knee touching the ground to prevent the patient rolling onto their face
  4. Place the patient’s hand under their chin to stop their head from tilting and to keep their airway open

What to do for an infant under 1 year of age...

  1. Lie the infant face down on your forearm
  2. Support the infant’s head with your hand

Upcoming first aid courses

We’re pleased to announce that our first aid training has resumed throughout the Territory. Classes are filling up quickly, so don’t hesitate to sign up!

Casuarina, NT
Manual Handling
20 August
Book this course today.

Parap, NT
First Aid for the Mind
27-28 August
Book this course today.

Casuarina, NT
Mental Health and Crisis Support
31 August
Book this course today.

View all courses

St John NT Special Offer

Special offer – Small and Medium Leisure Kit

Dry season special

Emergencies come when they’re least expected, but the St John NT leisure kit range helps you be prepared. Purchase a small or medium leisure kit during the month of August and save 10% PLUS receive a free 180ml hand sanitiser pump pack.

The leisure first aid kits are filled with an extensive range of first aid equipment for emergencies both in and out of the home. This special offer cannot be combined with any other offer and is valid in-store only while supplies last.

To purchase, please visit our retail shops in Darwin at 416 Stuart Hwy Winnellie or in Alice Springs via the Allchurch Street entrance.

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