Founded by Reverend John Flynn, RFDS is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organizations in the world. It delivers 24-hour Emergency Services to people in the most remote areas of Australia. In addition, it supplies primary health care throughout Australia. With a fleet of 61 aircraft operating from 21 bases across Australia, it provides medical assistance to over 278,000 people a year. Their motto is “No patient is more than two hours away from help!”. And that is saying alot, considering Australia is so huge and soooo spread out.
We are working for the South Eastern Section of RFDS. They have welcomed us to their offices here in Sydney, where the boys and I have been volunteering: folding mailings, assembling model airplanes and setting up fundraising efforts. We leave shortly for their main base in Broken Hill, the capital of “The Outback”! We will take the Indian Pacific over-night train, where we will be volunteering as porters to raise money for RFDS. Then off to Broken HIll, where it is apparently quite warm and teeming with kangaroos and snakes… and filled with friendly, local Australians. We will be volunteering in the Visitors Center there and working directly with the doctors, nurses, and emergency staff, documenting their heroic efforts. We have been invited to fly with them to remote areas, where they continue to administer emergency care and also set up various clinics to serve the outback.
Our itinerary includes: working with the staff at the main office, visiting the local university, the Maari Ma (an Aboriginal community health organization) and a tour of Broken Hill. We will visit various remote stations like Langawirra and Tibooburra, and will be introduced to School of The Air. This school was established in 1956 and now caters predominately to the geographically isolated students within a radius of approximately 300km from Broken Hill. In addition, we will see the White Cliffs, visit the White Opal Fields and actually stay at an underground motel.
Sydney is stunning. The kids are feeling at home here, where they speak our language, and the people could not be more friendly. The weather has been mild; a nice break from the heat of Africa. We are going to take in a bit of the city tomorrow and then head off to the Outback! Very exciting.
But the highlight other than meeting the great staff at RFDS in Sydney, was our flight around Sydney with our pilot, Ryan, who is an amazing pilot, teacher (he let me fly part of the time), and great tour guide from the air.
Thanks to all the marketing staff at The Royal Flying Doctors including Jane, Michelle, Jonathan, Nick, Nicole, Danielle, Rachel, Sun, Kate, and Todd. Also Simon, David, and Ryan at Basair Aviation College!
More to follow…