Historical information

This small, portable 1930’s Sanax First Aid in Accidents Kit has been strongly constructed, the case reinforced with metal to take knocks and bumps as it was transported to the site of an emergency. Having these supplies organised into a kit made them easily accessible and reduces time to take them to the accident site. The text of the printed brand “Sanax - First Aid” embossed on the lid.

In Aradale Mental Hospital and J Ward, people are well aware of the institutions remoteness and of the importance of quick treatment when accidents occur. However, prior to the first commercial First Aid Kit being produced in 1888 by Johnson & Johnson, there was limited knowledge about treating injuries and about medical supplies to have ready for emergencies.
A quote from Johnson’s & Johnson’s 1888 price list states, “It is a fact ... that many lives are lost and much suffering entailed in such accidents on account of the lack of the simple but necessary articles required to afford prompt assistance to the wounded.” [cited Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village]


The kit is significance because it illustrates the first aid paraphernalia used in the care of staff and patients at Aradale Mental Hospital and J Ward.

Physical description

Black tin container.
Inside lid shows printed instructions regarding treating various ailments.
Absorbent gauze
Canister of castor oil
Petroleum jelly
First Aid dressing
Absorbent dressing
Salvolatile ointment
Gauze bandage x 3
Ache tablets x 25
3 loose metal safety pins

The contents are not dissimilar to items used in first aid kits today.

Inscriptions & markings

Due to its portable nature, the kit contains many dents and scratches.