The Flying Doctors

Broken Hill Travel Blog

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The hangar of the RFDS

Our first task for today was to book a car for the weekend with Thomas and Sabina, the Austrian couple we first met back in Mildura. The rest of the day was spent exploring on the bikes that we had borrowed from the hostel.

We cycled the few kms out of the town to the airport, where the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is based.  We looked around the information centre, and then had a tour of the communications room and the hangar where they keep the planes.  The RFDS was started in 1928 by the Rev. John Flynn, who was concerned about the health of people living in the remote outback.  The base at Broken Hill has three planes, and serves NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of Southern Australia.

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They run a clinic everyday in different locations, and get an average of two call outs per day. Each community in the outback has to build their own runway, and also have a large medical chest so that the doctor can prescribe the drugs they need over the phone. The service gets about two thirds of its funds from the government, but they have to raise money themselves for the actual planes, which currently cost $8 million each.

After having our lunch sat at the very peaceful airport (we saw a total of 2 planes take off in an hour), we headed back to BH. By this time it was very hot, so we decided to go and have a beer at the Broken Earth Cafe, situated on the top of the town's slag-heap. It was a mission getting to it, and by the time we got inside we both had bright red faces and were sweating profusely. The bar maid looked alarmed and quickly produced water, shortly followed by two cold beers! We were revived just in time.

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The hangar of the RFDS
The hangar of the RFDS
Prize for the best caption!
Prize for the best caption!
On our bikes again
On our bikes again
An old mine
An old mine
Broken Hill
photo by: roamingduck