Flynn’s great outback dream 100 years on
One hundred years ago today, on September 26, 1912, one of Australia’s greatest pioneering ventures began.
The man on the $20 note, John Flynn, embarked on his dream to build a network of care for people across the outback with the establishment of the Australian Inland Mission (AIM).
More than 1,000 people from across the country will gather in Melbourne tonight to celebrate the remarkable work which Flynn began and the dedication of those who have continued to build on his dream for over a century.
Today, Frontier Services, the successor to the AIM in the Uniting Church, maintains this network of care, providing essential support and services to 15,000 families who live in Australia’s most remote and isolated places.
Frontier Services will host the centenary celebration at the Dallas Brooks Centre in Melbourne from 7pm.
The event will bring together those who have been involved in the work over the past century alongside 230 of Frontier Services’ current staff from across remote Australia — as far afield as the Pilbara, Kimberley, Mt Isa, Cape York, Broken Hill, Alice Springs as well as the high country of Victoria and west coast and midlands of Tasmania.
Frontier Services Patron Tim Fischer AC will give the official welcome while Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean will give an address. The evening will include songs written especially for the centenary, with Ted Egan and David MacGregor among the performers.
A welcome to Country will be offered by Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy.
Following this, in a symbolic gesture of unity, water collected from different parts of the country will be poured into a tank.
The Centenary marks one hundred years since Flynn’s report on life in the outback was presented to the Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Melbourne. The AIM was established at this meeting with Flynn appointed Superintendent.
The visionary work of Flynn and the AIM led to the development of hospitals across the outback, the pedal radio and an aerial medical service, known today as the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Frontier Services National Director Rosemary Young said the celebrations would also focus on the future.
“As people in remote Australia face rapid changes and increasing pressure, the need for services and care is even greater. We are determined to ensure Flynn’s dream is kept alive and people in remote places can find the support they need, when and where they need it.”