We come from the Land Down Under. Where woman glow and men plunder. Not sure what glow and plunder means, but I haven’t seen any of that. What we have been seeing is the amazing outback of Australia. Off the charts, people!
Then we boarded The Indian–Pacific, as guests of the train company, headed for our next destination, Broken Hill. We were invited to walk the train, meeting travelers to talk about RFDS and to accept donations on their behalf. Everyone loves the Royal Flying Doctors here and many have stories of having relied on them in a life or death situation.
The Royal Flying Doctors Service is an awe-inspiring organization that not only does emergency evacuations, but also its largest contribution is actually primary healthcare in the most remote areas of the Outback. They hold clinics that include general practice, dentistry, dermatology, mental health, women’s services, and more.
The beauty of their work is that the services are free to the recipients. And though RFDS is partially funded by the Australian government, they rely on private donations for a good part of their budget.
There is not a more worthy cause in Australia. The company is first class, professional, and they genuinely care for their clients. It’s really been an honor to be part of the Broken Hill group. Alex Lean, Robyn Taylor, Reta Elliott, Vanessa Latham, Barbara Ellis, Trish McCarron, Sheree Quinn, Michael Grogan, and the rest have been so incredibly welcoming.
What can I say about Broken Hill? It’s the gem of The Outback. A mining town built in the 1800’s with many homes made of corrugated iron, it’s reminiscent of a 1950’s mining town with an incredibly quaint downtown area and a great sense of community. It hosts the richest silver mines in the world. And all the miners have such great stories. The boys and I have fallen in love with this place.
And the people could not be nicer. We are based here at the South East headquarters of RFDS. We have been working at the Visitor’s Center, helping clean up the storerooms, and also working in the hangar with the fleet of planes.
We visited the rural campus of The Sydney University hospital where we met with Dr. Malcolm Moore. We were also asked to speak about our trip to 60 students at the local elementary school. They were a great group. The Barrier Daily Truth, the local paper, did a story on us this week and also ABC National Public Radio did an interview with us.
Friday we visited the local, “School of The Air” office. For those of you that don’t know about them, they are an online learning center for students in remote areas of Australia. The students do their classes over the Internet, with a teacher at the office teaching in front of a camera. The boys and I joined in at the weekly assembly and I spoke about 12 in 12 in front of a camera going out to over a hundred students all over Australia. Was a huge highlight for me.
We also visited Maari Ma Health Clinic, an organization that focuses on healthcare for, but not limited to, the indigenous population. It was such an interesting visit to discuss concerns and issues revolving around the aboriginal community.
Jackson, Buck and I got to visit Silverton, the little town were the Mad Max movies were filmed. We were also honored at a dinner at The Palace Hotel, where “Priscilla, Queen of The Desert” was filmed. We really enjoyed ourselves, thanks to our hosts, Alex and Peter Lean. It was also a pleasure to get to meet Clyde Thomason, the executive director of RFDS South East.
But one of the biggest highlights was visiting John and Lynne Gall at their station (or ranch) called Langawirra. John is on the Board of Directors of RFDS and Lynne is an active member of the Women Auxiliary of RFDS. What a pleasure to spend some time with them and their son and daughter-in-law, Lachlan and Jo. They live on a breathtaking property where they raise sheep and cattle. We were invited to lunch and then watched the sheep get sheared. It is a family business and the entire family work incredibly hard. It was pretty surreal to be in the middle of the outback watching Australian wool getting sheared off sheep. Cool, eh?
This weekend the boys and I visited the opal-mining town of White Cliffs and got to spend the night in an underground motel. Was awesome! But a whole blog will be dedicated to that story, because it was just plain amazing. So stay tuned….