65 – Royal Flying Doctor Service

Presbyterian Minister John Flynn had a desire to bring “a mantle of safety” to those living in the remote areas of Australia.  WWI Australian fighter pilot John Clifford Peel suggested a blueprint for such a service.  Alf Traeger tested and designed equipment that would allow communication across the outback and Hudson Fysh acquired the planes that could be used by an Aerial Medical Service.  The vision and tenacity of Flynn brought all these ideas & people together to create one of the most outstanding, helpful and appreciated services in Australia.  Something that still serves those in remote & rural Australia since it’s beginning in 1928.

(57 Mins)

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John Flynn, founder of todays RFDS on Australian $20 note


Estimated resident population. (ABS 3101.0)
Early pedal radio in use
AIM Pedal Radio 1929 (RFDS)
Alf Traeger in his later years. (RFDS)
AIM Pedal Radio (NMA)
Sister Garlick’s “Where does it hurt” chart. (RFDS)
Remote cattle station with airstrip. (BGS)
RFDS Radio Network (date unknown)

RFDS bases 2022 [RFDS]
Aeromedical footprint [RFDS]
Any straight road might be an RFDS airstrip [RACGP]

The Queen bestowing the ‘Royal’ at Broken Hill FDS Base 1954 (RFDS)

Dental work in remote Australia [date unknown RFDS]
Work on the airstrip. RFDS Dentist 1962 [NAA R2895]
RFDS display – National Museum of Australia [ABC]

RFDS medical chest

RFDS retrieval [RFDS]
RFDS Medi-jet 24 [ANZ]
RFDS [HealthLink]
RFDS plane at Base [RFDS]

Yarrangobilly Caves guesthouse
Yarrangobilly Caves thermal pool
Road to Yarrangobilly Caves
Yarrangobilly Caves

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FLYNN, JOHN. The bushman’s companion : a handful of hints for outbackers. Trove. Online. [Accessed February 2023]. Available from: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-52794363

ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. History of the Flying Doctor |Online. [Accessed February 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/about-the-rfds/history/

ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. Lieutenant Clifford Peel – Providing a Blueprint for the RFDS |Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/news/lieutenant-clifford-peel-providing-blueprint-rfds/

ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. How Alfred Traeger gave the outback its voice |Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/news/how-alfred-traeger-gave-outback-its-voice/

History | RFDS | Dubbo Visitor Centre. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://dubbo.experience.flyingdoctor.org.au/about/history/

KNIGHT, Ken G. Affleck, Arthur Herbert (1903–1966). In: Australian Dictionary of Biography. Online. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/affleck-arthur-herbert-9314

SYDNEY UNIVERSITY. Welch, Kenyon St Vincent – Faculty of Medicine Online Museum and Archive. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.sydney.edu.au/medicine/museum/mwmuseum/index.php/Welch,_Kenyon_St_Vincent

SHOALHAVEN NEWS AND SOUTH COAST DISTRICTS ADVERTISER, 1918. An Aerial Service for Inland Pioneers.  Online. New South Wales, 2 November 1918. [Accessed February 2023]. Available from: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112540655

MCDONALD, ROGER, 2002. Australia’s Flying Doctors. . Fremantle Arts Centre Press. ISBN 1-86368-385-2.

School of the Air, 2022. Wikipedia. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=School_of_the_Air&oldid=1127795041

WIKIPEDIA: JEAN WHITE, 2022. Jean White (physician). Wikipedia. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jean_White_(physician)&oldid=1085055424

RFDS Governance | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/about-the-rfds/governance/

RFDS Statistics | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/about-the-rfds/facts-and-figures/

ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE. Great Pilgramage: The Royal Flying Doctor Service welcomes the “Great Pilgrimage” |Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/nswact/news/royal-flying-doctor-service-welcomes-great-pilgrimage/

Annual Reports for the RFDS | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/about-the-rfds/annual-reports/

Flying Doctor aircraft fleet | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/about-the-rfds/our-fleet/

WIKIPEDIA: HAM RADIO, 2023. Etymology of ham radio. Online. [Accessed February 2023]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Etymology_of_ham_radio&oldid=1136691776

History of the Royal Flying Doctor Service – Royal Flying Doctor Service Alice Springs Tourist Facility. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.rfdsalicesprings.com.au/about-the-royal-flying-doctor-service/history-of-the-royal-flying-doctor-service

KIEZA, GRANTLEE, 2022. Hudson Fysh. . Sydney, N.S.W.: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-7333-4153-3.

Providing Trusted Primary Health Care | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/what-we-do/primary-health-care/

What does the RFDS do? | Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/what-we-do/

WIKIPEDIA: RFDS, 2023. Royal Flying Doctor Service. Online. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Royal_Flying_Doctor_Service&oldid=1147351384

HANNAM, Peter, 2023. Hole 70 metres deep has opened up following collapse in Snowy Hydro tunnel, officials confirm. The Guardian. Online. 13 February 2023. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/feb/13/hole-70-metres-deep-has-opened-up-following-collapse-in-snowy-hydro-tunnel-officials-confirm

QUINLAN, Heather, 2022. SNOWY 2.0 HEADRACE TUNNEL UPDATE. Snowy Hydro. Online. 16 December 2022. [Accessed April 2023]. Available from: https://www.snowyhydro.com.au/news/snowy-2-0-headrace-tunnel-update/

MARSH, BILL (ed.), 2010. New great Australian Flying Doctor Stories. Sydney, NSW: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-7333-2551-9.

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