Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 41, September 1997


By J F Carbutt

About this time I was involved in the Waihi Athletic team to fill a gap but after a few games I knew I would never make a footballer. My last game was at Katikati and here I got the impression that Katikati were out to play the man, not the ball. Near the end of the game I happened to be back by the fullback, Joe Wyatt. I witnessed a fierce kick to the side of his head. Joe squealed loudly and fell to the ground unconscious and he was taken to Waihi Hospital where he remained for quite a while.

This then decided me; I would be better employed as a first aid man. This coincided with my first aid duties which I was taught through Tom Williams, our instructor, and Dr Hetherington as our examiner. I passed my three exams before being allowed on field duty. At this stage my mates on first aid duty were Harry Birse, Sid Birse and Bill McConachie. When we started our duties at Rugby Park, we had to be fully dressed in our uniforms with our medical kits at the ready.

On our early duties we were warned that in any injuries where broken skin was involved, the players had to be taken to either doctor for an anti-tetanus injection. At that time Rugby Park was used as a paddock for the underground horses when the mine was closed for the Christmas holidays. When the horses were brought up out of the mine, they were kept blindfolded for two days.

I remember well that some of the players objected strongly to being taken to the doctors for the anti-tet needle. We had to do this by regulation otherwise we were held responsible, as each injury had to be recorded.

This St. John Ambulance field training stood me in good stead during my 37½ years in the Waihi Volunteer Fire Brigade, where I was called on at various times to aid brother firemen and others who had been injured.