Epsom marks 100 years of St John
A century of history is being celebrated by the St John Epsom Division.
The group marked its 100th anniversary on Friday.
It was formed as a direct response to the need to care for injured World War I veterans.
Nurse Evelyn Firth approached the Auckland Hospital Board in 1914 to provide facilities to care for the returning wounded.
A two-storey house in Epsom’s Domett Ave was converted to a convalescence home and Firth set about establishing a St John Ambulance Brigade Nursing Division to provide the nursing staff.
‘‘It was a real achievement to form this kind of group. Evelyn saw a need and then decided to do something about it,’’ St John archivist Guy Marks says.
‘‘The service is still delivered 100 years later.’’
Between 1914 and 1918, Firth maintained the nursing group in Epsom and went on to establish two other convalescence homes in
being Parnell and Devonport. In 1918 she died of influenza, aged 43.
An Epsom men’s division was formed in the 1930s and the group moved to its current site in Manukau Rd. It is probably the last of these groups to meet in its own facility.
The men and women’s divisions merged in the 1970s and there is a youth division with more than 100 members.
The Parnell home was renamed the Evelyn Firth Home in honour of the work done by her.
Founders: The St John Epsom Division circa 1914. Evelyn Firth is to the left of the man at the front.