A youthful Michael Swinbourne in his early days as a paramedic.
A youthful Michael Swinbourne in his early days as a paramedic.

Paramedic finds time for travel

PARAMEDIC Michael Swinbourne of Evans Head will no longer have to respond to terrible trauma on the highway after officially retiring from a career that spanned 38 years.

Mr Swinbourne first joined the then Central District Ambulance Sydney in 1978, aged 19, after graduating from the Ambulance Academy at Rozelle.

Earlier models

The choice of ambulance vehicle in those times was a six-cylinder Ford F100.

Mr Swinbourne worked in Sydney for 14 years at Randwick, Rockdale, Summerhill, Sydney City and Caringbah.

He completed his intensive care paramedic course in 1985, regarded by his colleagues as an outstanding achievement in a very competitive field.

Mr Swinbourne transferred to Casino in 1992 and also undertook relief work throughout the Northern Rivers.

Transferred to Evans Head

In 1996 Mr Swinbourne transferred to Evans Head where he dedicated 16 years of his working career, including time as station officer. His last four years were spent at Ballina.

Mr Swinbourne’s 38-year career was all the more remarkable given the job’s demanding, stressful and chaotic environment.

During his early years at Evans Head, working mostly alone, he attended horrendous accidents on the Pacific Highway. And the drama refused to stop right up to his last hours in the job.

Never ending drama

Mr Swinbourne’s last week prior to retirement included a shark attack at Ballina, a head-on motor vehicle accident with two people trapped, a B-double roll-over, a car careening into a tree and a cardiac arrest at Ballina Airport. This long-serving paramedic really went out with a bang!

Mr Swinbourne has been awarded the National Medal with second clasp, ambulance good conduct medal third clasp, volunteer’s medal and a 10-year service medal from Marine Rescue NSW.

Great camaraderie

What he will miss the most is the camaraderie and friendship with his fellow paramedics, nurses and other emergency services. There is a unique bond between emergency service people.

Current Evans Head Station Officer David Scott said he had known Mr Swinbourne since 1988.

“Mick is a gentleman of great character, an outstanding clinician and mentor to many and a true professional with incredible resilience and stamina,” Mr Scott said.

“Mick’s motto of putting the patient first and the respect Mick has gained within the Evans Head community, NSW Ambulance, NSW Health and Allied Emergency services is wonderful.”



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