Outback Mum

Graphic: Outback Mum

Outback mums

Date published

18 Mar 2024

RFDS and Motherland giveaway competition winner Laura shares how the Flying Doctor has been a saving grace for rural mums.

When Queensland mother-of-two Laura moved to her fiancé’s cattle property, more than 80km west of Boulia, she knew she’d have to rely on the RFDS for support.

Despite growing up on a small rural farm in England, life in outback Queensland quickly presented its challenges, especially when they decided to start a family and have two children on the property.

Luckily, throughout both of her pregnancies, Laura was able to arrange shared care between the RFDS Primary Health Care clinic in Boulia and the Mount Isa Hospital.

Laura with children

The clinics saved their family from driving eight-hour round trips for check-ups and medical appointments and were always a phone call away for advice.

“When we first moved to the property, I was little scared, especially being a first-time mother,” Laura said.

“Even though there is an airstrip on the property where the Flying Doctor can land, I was worried about what we would do if an accident happened.

“My experience with the Boulia clinic has been fantastic, whether it be general checkups or child health checks - the RFDS have always been there for us.”

The Flying Doctor visits the Boulia clinic once a week with a child health nurse and a midwife. A specialist also attends a few times a year but is also available for appointments through telehealth.

One day when the family were playing on the property, her son Cooper fell backwards into a paddling pool when he was just 12 months old.

Cooper swallowed a lot of water and took a little longer than normal to recover.

Without hesitation, Laura rang the Boulia clinic for advice, and despite the clinic being closed, the RFDS on-call nurse insisted on driving out to the property to check on him.

child with a horse

“When you hear of people in the city waiting hours for an ambulance, I feel incredibly lucky that we have access to this support,” Laura said.

“Cooper was fine, I just panicked, but the experience still proved how efficient the service is.

“The doctors and nurses get to know the kids over the years, and I think this makes people in the community feel like they are in good hands and can trust the service they are being given.”

If the RFDS Primary Health Care clinic wasn’t located in Boulia, Laura and her children would have to travel three hours to Winton or more than four hours to Mount Isa for medical services.

For peace of mind, Laura has a fully stocked first aid kit at the property and has completed a first-aid course to ensure she is always prepared for the unexpected.

Laura has also discovered the importance of connecting with other mothers who are living on the land and praised Motherland Australia for giving rural mothers a voice to express the challenges they face in raising children in rural communities.

“Motherland has been fantastic for rural mothers,” Laura said.

“I am a regular listener of the podcast, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to join the 0–3-year group with some of the other mums in our area.

“I think it has created a new movement in making women realise how important it is to create a supportive and nonjudgmental community with other mothers in similar situations.

“It’s inspiring to hear their stories and know how tough and resilient rural mothers are.”

RFDS (Queensland Section) is proud to partner with Motherland Australia as their summer podcast sponsor for 2024. Listen to their latest episode below featuring Laura who shares what it's like to raise children in outback Queensland.