Tow trucks to the rescue

As told by Paul Glass in 2002.  He was apprenticed to Tooles Garage in 1946.

In those days (1946) there was no ambulance in Wodonga. We didn’t get much in the way of serious injuries. There was no State Emergency Service. If anyone was trapped in a vehicle the police and ourselves were there. We had to do the getting out. If someone was trapped in a car we’d get one end and someone on the other and we’d stretch it. And that was how we got the body or the injured person out. There was no such thing as the Jaws of Life and the modern equipment they have today. Same with lights. If you had a night job you had to supply your own lights, which were fitted up to the trucks. Even when they did get an ambulance service here in Wodonga, the station was down in Huon Street, and one driver was on and one driver was off. If more than one ambulance was needed the Police would ring up and say “We want two tow trucks, there’s been a head-on hit”. So one of us had to drive the ambulance back from the scene of the accident, with the ambulance officer treating the wounded in the back of the vehicle as we drove to hospital. We’d have to go back to get our truck and carry on with our normal job.

One night I remember we got a call to the Wodonga flats, water was fairly high in flood and one of the gullies over towards Lemke’s was flooded and the ambulance tried to get through and couldn’t. So he was bogged and we had to go and pull him out. In the meantime he’d got the other ambulance and they had a bit of a conference and it was decided one of us would go in and get the sick man – I think he had pneumonia – and bring him out in the truck. I went in and wrapped him in a blanket and sat him up in the front seat and brought him out to the ambulance. Times have changed to what they were in those days.