At the Very Heart: 100 Years in Remote Australia

At the Very Heart: 100 Years in Remote Australia

Storry Walton, Wakefield Press, $49.95

This is a beautifully presented book. A coffee table book that deserves to be read … by all who can lay their hands on it.

It is well-written, visually attractive, with black and white and coloured photographs on beautiful paper. With some of the photos are hand-written paragraphs, making a distinction between the typewritten words and the thoughts that inspired them.

The author has presented this very true story as a mixture of the historical and the present — history in the making.

It brings very close the story of the hardship of outback settlers, their stoicism and their needs. The story of the people who have ministered to them over the years. The story of the battle begun by John Flynn a hundred years ago, who founded the Australian Inland Mission to support those people, to have their needs recognised and to raise funds care for them.

In 1916, two nursing sisters, Jeannie Herd and Doris Dunlop, were referred to by their patients as the Angels of the Bush. Reading this book you could use that title for all those people who help make life a little more liveable for those who have made their homes and their life’s work in these far-flung areas.

The medical staff, the pilots, the padres and their helpers, the social workers, the list is almost endless. Last but not least are those in cities and towns and villages of Australia who help with funds and practical equipment to keep this service viable.

This book is a memorial and a dedication to John Flynn and all the hundreds of people who are in its pages. It is an inspiration to see how a small group of people can work such a wonderful change for thousands of people.

Lyn Housen

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