104 years in Outback Australia
Frontier Services recognises 26 September 1912, 104 years ago, as its foundation date. On this day a Presbyterian minister, Rev John Flynn ‘Flynn of the Inland’ was appointed the first superintendent of the AIM (Australian Inland Mission). Flynn was a great humanitarian. He believed outreach to disadvantaged people in remote Australia should be practical and beneficial.
Besides providing mobile ministers affectionately known as “padres”, Flynn worked tirelessly to bring about a “mantle of safety” consisting of medical clinics, nurses and doctors, good literature and correspondence, a “flying” doctor, and a vast radio network of inexpensive “pedal” radios connecting otherwise isolated people. All of these things came to pass and enriched the lives of outback Australians.
In our day, 104 years later, Frontier Services focuses on maintaining and increasing the number of Patrol Ministers across remote Australia. Depending on circumstances we may have between 10 and 20 patrols operating in remote regions of Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, NT, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Patrol ministers perform weddings, funerals and baptisms but of most value is the spirit of friendship and ‘having a yarn’ – as Flynn did all those years ago – by checking in with station folk and remote communities on a regular basis.
Allied to this pastoral presence is our outreach through our volunteers program ‘Outback Links’; wherein skilled volunteers do short work placements at homes and stations. ‘Outback Links’ also organises, in partnership with trade, corporate and service providers, group trips of tradespeople who do intensive, extended work parties in drought-affected regions. Our partners include the NRMA and QANTAS engineering and cabin crew teams. In 2015 -16, we planned, managed and carried out group working trips of volunteers to Lightning Ridge NSW, Longreach and Charleville Qld. And the feedback from these communities has been most positive!