The Patrol is based in Tom Price in Western Australia and very remote. Tom Price is a Rio Tinto mining town some 1600 km north of Perth. With a population of about 3500 people. Tom Price has 2 primary schools and a high school, medical centre, hospital, Coles supermarket and good sporting venues. It is a family friendly town.
The Pilbara is a region of rugged beauty which tourists travel to each year. The patrol is the size of Victoria.
Tom Price is still the base, the patrol minister travel’s to the north as far as Anna Plains station which is only 200 ks from Broome, then south to Exmouth across to Dampier onto Port Hedland, down the great northern highway to Newman onto Kumerina roadhouse. The distances and area is very large and at times demanding, depending on the climatic conditions.
In the last two years the patrol ministry has become very active in the mining area. This has become about with the FIFO positions on offer in the Pilbara. There are some 1400 people living in mining camps spread throughout the region. The main mines are Iron Ore but there are some Gold and Gas fields with camps to be visited.
The patrol currently services eight mining camps on a three month roster, with the potential for expansion is this aspect of the patrol ministry.
Ministry to the pastoral stations is a significant part of the patrol.
Town ministry for the patrol is not in the form of a congregation but working in an ecumenical setting with the police chaplaincy in the following areas: Tom Price, Newman, Marble Bar, Port Hedland.
The Patrol minister provides chaplaincy to Nintirri Centre, a major local community service organisation.
Between the months of April to September there is a well-attended ecumenical service for tourists in Karijini National Park.
Based in Meekatharra, the patrol provides ministry to the communities, stations, mines and individuals within the patrol area that engages people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and offers pastoral care to the people of the Murchison region.
Murchison Patrol is a road patrol. Several years ago this was an aerial/road patrol but with changes both within the region and Frontier Services, it has reverted to solely a road patrol. There are no formal congregations / faith communities within the region although adhoc services are conducted at different times around the area.
This patrol covers an area of approximately 500,000 square kilometres. Its boundaries are Kumarina Roadhouse in the north-east across to Mt Augustus Station in the north west; Murchison Roadhouse and Yallalong in the west, Yalgoo, Paynes Find to Bibijy Station (the southern most point of the patrol) and from there heading north-east towards Leonora and further north to Wiluna.
Some towns are experiencing population decline as mining companies fly in and fly out their employees. There are 130 stations and various mining operations and the Patrol Minister tries to keep in contact as much as possible - providing pastoral care, worship services, funerals, weddings, counselling and support, together with a simple hand of friendship.
Some of the stations have diversified their operations to maintain viability. These include bio-organic beef production, station stay tourism, orchards including table grapes and the harvesting and sale of sandalwood.
The first "missionary" was sent to Wiluna in 1930 and the first Patrol Padre was appointed to Meekatharra soon after that.