Reverend John Flynn OBE was a true companion to the people of the Outback, founding the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) in 1912 to support the nation’s most isolated communities. This pioneering organisation, one of the hallmarks of John Flynn’s legacy, would later become Frontier Services.

“If you start something worthwhile, nothing can stop it.”


– Rev John Flynn

The Endowment Fund for Frontier Services

The John Flynn Foundation is the endowment fund for Frontier Services.  

It provides for the long-term needs of isolated communities and individuals in Australia by building capital; the investment income is used to fund the work of Bush Chaplains while the capital continues to grow over time and provides a sustainable income stream into the future. 

We honour the memory of Reverend John Flynn in the name of our Foundation, recognising that it is not just about a gift today but an investment in the future of rural and remote Australia, continuing his vision of a “mantle of safety” over the inland.

Rev John Flynn’s legacy, and yours.

Plenty has changed in rural and remote Australia since the beginning of the 20th century, but some things remain the same.

When Rev John Flynn envisioned a “mantle of safety” to enrich and protect our outback communities, he was responding to an overwhelming need he witnessed firsthand.

Where there are people in the bush struggling with hardship and isolation, our network of Bush Chaplains and Outback Links volunteers, through your legacy, will provide this mantle of safety.

Leaving a Gift in your Will to the John Flynn Foundation

Making a Will is one of the most important decisions you can make in your life. It ensures your wishes are carried out and the values you hold most dear continue through the work of others, such as the amazing work of our Bush Chaplains.

Gifts to the John Flynn Foundation, the endowment fund for Frontier Services, help build a significant reserve which provides a steady and long-term income stream to support our Bush Chaplaincy program.

Rev John Flynn - Give us a Flynn, Flick Us A Flynn, Commemorated on the $20 note

Reverend John Flynn

John Flynn was born on 25 November 1880 in the goldmining village of Moliagul, Victoria. When he finished high school, Flynn trained as a teacher and worked for four years before committing to religious studies.

As a lay pastor, he travelled with the Presbyterian missionaries to remote settlements in Victoria and experienced firsthand the desperate and dangerous plight of the inland pioneers and their communities.

Following his ordination as a Minister in the Presbyterian Church on 24 January 1911, Flynn undertook a journey through central Australia and the Northern Territory with the express aim of producing a report on the living conditions of outback settlers.

A keen photographer, Flynn also included images and maps that illustrated the need for better medical services in the outback.

The Presbyterian Assembly were impressed by what they saw and supported Flynn’s plans for what would soon become known as the ‘Australian Inland Mission’ (now Frontier Services).

(Source: Portrait of a Nation)

The Australian Inland Mission

The Australian Inland Mission, which was responsible for the Northern Territory and the remote parts of South Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland, began with one Patrol Padre, Bruce Plowman, a nursing sister, and a nursing hostel at Oodnadatta.

In 1913 Flynn launched the illustrated magazine The InlanderBy 1918 he had established patrols at Oodnadatta, Port Hedland, Broome, Pine Creek and Cloncurry and nursing sisters at Oodnadatta, Port Hedland, Halls Creek, Maranboy and Alice Springs.

In 1926 he persuaded Alfred Traeger to come to Alice Springs and develop the pedal radio. A radio station was installed at the Presbyterian Church at Cloncurry and pedal sets were placed at homesteads and missions.

(Source: The National Library of Australia)

Patrol Padres then…

A man of strong character and conviction, Rev John Flynn wanted a group of people who would be willing to help those who were in need in the inland. His first patrol minister set out on camel in 1913 from Oodnadatta.

Known then as Patrol Padres and now as Bush Chaplains, these dedicated men and women lend a helping hand and a non-judgemental ear to people living in remote areas. Just like Flynn did over a hundred years ago, our Bush Chaplains will sit down and have a yarn, and ease the load of everyone they meet.

…Bush Chaplains now

Frontier Services is still the companion who turns up to lend an ear, give a helping hand, and be of service. It’s the Australian way, and we’ve been doing it for over 110 years. Frontier Services may have a refreshed look, but our vision remains the same to this day: that all people, regardless of where they live in Australia, can have a fulfilled life and access to the care and support when they need it.

The need for Bush Chaplains is just as vital, if not more so, than 110 years ago. They are on the frontline and are often first responders in remote communities, visiting people on properties. They lend a sympathetic ear, offer practical support, and refer people to other services providers as appropriate.

Coming home through heartbreak
There’s something about a rural show
Without a church nearby
A palpable need for mending
Christmas in Oodnadatta