Now we wait, coil the spring; prepare to pounce when the buzzer goes off - we may get a job in a minute or we may get a job in five hours, I don't know.


Tony & Nareeda

TOBY GUTHRIE COILS THE SPRING is a gentle and intimate story of living on the edge, waiting for a disaster.

A day in the life portrait of Toby Guthrie, an ambulance paramedic working in Melbourne, the program follows the stops and starts of a regular 12-hour shift on the road. As Toby takes us through his day we explore what drove him to become a paramedic and why he thinks it's the best job in the world. When Toby puts on his paramedic uniform he feels able to do things and be someone he otherwise isn't. The uniform is also a ticket to the world where the other half lives - a confronting place of poignant stories and hard truths that challenge Toby's perspective on his own life and society.

Duration: 39:42


Toby Guthrie & Nareeda Miller



Produced, Recorded and Edited by Kyla Brettle
Executive Producer: Tony MacGregor, Radio Eye, ABC Radio National
Final Audio mix by Tim Symonds at ABC Studios in Southbank, Melbourne, Australia.

All music used in the program is derived from from Morphine's Cure For Pain, The Night and Like Swimming.

© ABC Radio National and Kyla Brettle 2004

A warm thank you to The Melbourne Ambulance Service, Brent Clough, John Diver, Michelle Matthews and Tim Symonds.

First broadcast on Radio Netherlands' Vox Humana, Friday 22 October, 2004.

Subsequent broadcasts:

  • ABC RN Radio Eye Saturday May 28, 2005;
  • ABC RN Radio Eye, Saturday February 11, 2006.

Photography by Kyla Brettle