A message from Frontier Services’ National Director, Jannine Jackson
The journey so far has not been easy for any of us in 2022. This is especially true for our friends in rural and remote Australia. They have struggled through the darkness and despair brought upon by natural disasters. This has been compounded by the pangs of loneliness and isolation.
But we are here now. And none of this would have been possible without the constant help and support of our loved ones. For those living on far-flung cattle stations, properties and some of Australia’s most isolated towns, our Bush Chaplains and Outback Links volunteers have been standing by their side, taking their hand and helping them place one foot in front of the other, on the road to rebuilding and recovery.
A journey spanning more than 100 years
As I sit and ponder on what lays ahead of us over the next few years, it suddenly dawns on me that not a lot has changed since we first began more than 100 years ago.
Our Bush Chaplains, with hearts of gold, are still the very thread that binds the fabric of our communities together. They join in during moments of joys and sorrows, and provide compassion and support to some of our most vulnerable communities during episodes of personal upheavals as well as disasters on a national scale. That familiar face turning up by their side has not changed one bit.
We have a dream to place one Bush Chaplain in every remote town, so that people can have access to the most incredible and life-changing support that they bring. I feel personally privileged to work with them and they inspire me every day. Wouldn’t it be remarkable to share this same level of love and support with everyone that needs a beautiful ray of hope?
The legacy of Frontier Services’ women
Looking back, the history of Frontier Services has witnessed some outstanding and courageous women setting out to do what few dreamt of. Our Bush Nurses travelled far and wide – from the sweltering heat of Oodnadatta to the wilderness of Cloncurry and the dusty plains of Birdsville. These incredibly strong women became part of the building of Frontier Services, and it is great to have an opportunity today to reflect on the amazing difference that our female Bush Chaplains are making across communities in rural and remote parts of the country. Our Bush Chaplains like Pastor Julia Lennon continue to work with Traditional Owners of the land, and lead by example on how communities and relationships between First and Second Peoples are built.
The journey ahead
We have a dream to show up every time we are needed. That no call goes unanswered. There is an increasing demand for us to fill the gaps in the recovery framework around communities that have been ravaged by natural disasters. We are in for the long haul, staying behind when everyone else has left. Rebuilding lives and communities doesn’t take days or months. It takes years of dedication and unfailing support.
We look back and reflect on all the lives that we have been able to touch over decades. Deep down, we are still the same. And it is ‘now’ more than ever that we continue to do what is essential.