Graphic: Image of a family on the edge
Witnessing emergencies in remote places inspired Liz Hamilton to leave a Gift in her Will
While on a childhood holiday off the Tasmanian coast, Liz Hamilton realised how important services like the RFDS can be.
During the trip, her brother gravely injured himself after a pyrotechnic experiment went wrong. “Fortunately my father was a doctor and could manage the situation,” says Liz, “but we needed to get off the island and to Hobart. An aeromedical retrieval was what was needed - but not available.”
Liz has since had her own fair share of adventures, reinforcing how tough things can get without medical expertise nearby.
“I went to work in the Solomon Islands on a remote atoll in 1983,” she recounts, “and I became the ‘medical officer’ as I knew more than any of the locals.”
“Whilst there, one of the locals had an allergic reaction. I was able to diagnose it as my mother, who was allergic to bees and ants, had had a number of attacks. I was able to send a motorised canoe to the nearest medical outpost and get them to come with the antihistamine. The lady lived.”
Graphic: Liz Hamilton
Liz’s perilous experiences of remote living didn’t end there. “Later I was in need of evacuation myself as I ruptured a disc lifting a gas cylinder but had to endure a very rough boat ride for 12 hours to get to Honiara."
Though trained as a librarian, in later life Liz “decided to be mad” and adopt the hard life of a farmer. “Free time does not exist,” she says. “If I can, I try to take some time off after 3pm until I have to start chores as I may be up during the night for a calving or lambing. I love it.”
With her personal experiences in mind, 30 years ago Liz Hamilton set up a charitable foundation using the inheritance from her mother’s estate.
“I felt I had already been well provided for,” Liz explains. “This foundation distributes twice yearly to 10 charities and RFDS has always been on my list. I may have a very small foundation but every bit helps.”
Liz’s generosity will remain through her Will. “I don’t have much family left, and I see this as a continuation of my support that I am doing now. My estate has to go somewhere and I want to make sure it goes to help where it is most needed.”