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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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27 August, 2021

100-year celebrations rock Longreach

Three buildings and a pool celebrate 100 years as a part of the makeup of our town.

By Michael R Williams

District Manager of the Longreach Ambulance Gavin Farry, Suzanne O’Brien, Ricky Hinchy, Eric Edwards, Graham Edwards, Allen Edwards, Bradley Edwards, and Bree Hinchy are the descendants of Archibald Solway who started the ambulance brigade in Longreach. PHOTOS: Michael R Williams.

TWO buildings integral to Longreach’s history celebrated their 100-year birthdays with a massive celebration over the weekend.
  
It was an occasion that brought together locals and families who have been entwined with the town’s history for as long as the buildings themselves.  

Both the Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade (QATB) building and the Powerhouse hit the 100 innings and have different purposes now: the Longreach Arts and Crafts Centre in the former and a historical museum in the latter. 

The Longreach Swimming Baths - which are no longer in use - is also celebrating its 100th year since its official opening in 1921. 

Queensland Ambulance Central West District Manager Gavin Farry said it is always important to recognise our history. 

“What was important for the ambulance workers was the leadership that was shown by the forefathers that took the time to rally the community to build such a fabulous facility,” he said.  

“The constant the ambulance has had, over the years, is the support of the community, [which has allowed the ambulance to] go about doing their job and providing care to the people in these towns.” 

Mr Farry urged locals to take inspiration and find pride in the people who constructed the buildings. 

“I’ve got a good quote that I use sometimes from Winston Churchill: you make a living by what you earn, but you make a life by what you give,” he said.  

“I’m absolutely sure that people like Warrian Seymour, the gentleman who started the Citizen’s Ambulance Transport Brigade, and Archibald Solway who came to Longreach from Sarina to start an ambulance brigade could inspire all our staff today.” 

Mr Farry said these days the ambulance workers do much more than just the emergency work of the past.  

“We are a mobile health service now, they’re [ambulance operations] a lot more complex than they were in the past,” he said.  

“We work with all our allied health services such as mental health or with people who are experiencing family and domestic violence, and we work closely with the police and fire service. 

“Doing what we can to try and help people on what is often their worst days.” 

The QATB building is now home to the Longreach Arts and Crafts Centre.  

President of the Longreach Arts and Cultural Association, Heather Hale said it was great to have a chance to celebrate the “amazing” building.  

“The building brought to Longreach an amazing ambulance service with some amazing, dedicated people,” she said.  
Ms Hale said the building is now a cultural precinct for the town. 

“It’s a place where people can come together in creative endeavours,” she said.  

“And of course, those endeavours can help with all sorts of mental health issues. 

“It’s about creating stronger, better, more resilient people, and that’s what we do.” 

The Powerhouse also celebrated 100 years this weekend with the revealing of a plaque.  

President of the Longreach Archival and Historical Research Group, a group that resides in the Powerhouse Museum, Kaye Kuhn said each of these buildings were significant historically as they marked a time when Longreach was rebuilding after the First World War.  

She said it was important to note the town does not have too many buildings left. 

“Simply because fires have wiped out so many,” she said.  

“How lucky are we that that ambulance station has never succumbed to fire.”  


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