Photo: © FlyingDoctor.org.au
While in Alice Springs, a thriving outback town in the Northern Territory, a group of our Ultimate Viewers visited The Royal Flying Doctor Service Visitor Center to learn the history behind this lifesaving Australian institution.
Australia is approximately the same size as the United States (not including Alaska), with regions that very from bustling urban cities to the rugged and rural Outback. For people living in remote areas, medical care was often scarce—until one man took it upon himself to create a service that could bring doctors to every corner of Australia.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) was created by Rev. John Flynn, a minister who lived in the Outback for most of his life. Without nearby hospitals, he witnessed the daily struggle of people living in remote areas to find medical care. In 1928, he opened the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service (later renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service) in Cloncurry, Queensland. By using aircrafts to fly doctors across the country, the RFDS is able to provide on-site emergency care, transport patients to hospitals and consult with doctors all over Australia.