Angels in the Outback - Max Griffiths
The Australian Inland Mission - A Century of Service to the Outback
Just before World War I when the Australian outback suffered with the decline of its goldmines and the hard times on its pastoral runs, a young Victorian arrived to see how he could help. The white inhabitants of Central Australia were few, and were rarely if ever visited by clergymen, doctors or nurses. It was the Reverend John Flynn, a young Presbyterian clergyman from Victoria, who set out to ease the loneliness of many outback people. Working under the banner of his Australian Inland Mission he eventually was helped by travelling padres who held religious services where two or three people and a child or two were gathered together, and by the young nurses who opened makeshift hospitals far from the doctor’s surgery. It was here in the late 1920s that the world’s first flying doctor service was founded - made possible by Flynn’s supporters; a young and dedicated Melbourne doctor named George Simpson; Alfred Traegar of Adelaide who devised a pedal wireless that linked outback homesteads and camps with the faraway pilot and doctor; and the engineers who managed to fit a stretcher inside the cramped cabin of the tiny Qantas aircraft of that era. This is their remarkable story told for the first time in all its detail and with the understanding of an insider.