Graphic: Pilot trades the 'big smoke’ of Queensland’s beef capital for the charm of Charleville
When Terry Latchman first joined the Flying Doctor as a pilot he had every intention of pursuing an outback lifestyle for his family. The journey to his dream wasn’t as straight as the crow flies but now, having made the move, Terry wouldn’t have it any other way.
Charleville was always the end goal when I first joined the RFDS eight and a half years ago,” he said.
“They say shoot for the moon, and even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars and let me tell you – the stars out here in Charleville at night time, they’re unmissable,” he said.
With a dream to pursue a proper outback upbringing for his children, Terry Latchman jumped at the opportunity when a spot opened up in Charleville at the beginning of 2022. Moving with his wife and three children aged 14, 11 and 10, Terry was determined to make the most of life for his family.
“We wanted our kids to experience another way of life, Rocky is like a big city compared to Charleville,” said Terry.
The appeal of small-town living for Terry and his wife came down to that true Queensland outback spirit and nurturing an environment that would instil in their children the strong values of mateship, resilience and happiness that comes from being away from all of the hustle and bustle.
Living in Charleville has been exactly what he hoped for – a relaxed lifestyle with a friendly community, where everyone looks after each other.
“There is no need for helicopter parenting, the kids go to school on their bikes and we know they are safe. They have a lot more freedom, which they really enjoy” he said.
Along with his love of the lifestyle, Terry has built strong relationships with not only the community members but also the patients he has met along the way.
With no hospitals nearby, there is a strong reliance on the RFDS within the community - locals and visitors alike heavily rely on the doctors and appreciate their commitment to patient safety and care.
About the job itself, Terry says: “This is some of the hardest, but most rewarding flying you will ever do, every day something is different and it will absolutely make you a better pilot.”
“Working in this job has been one of the most enriching experiences I’ve had, the staff are like a family and all come together to do what they do best. Everyone here has a story to tell about the Flying Doctor”
“You build a strong bond with your teammates and patients along the way. They remember you and come up to you weeks, months or even years later to share their stories with you, they have nothing but gratitude for the service you provide.”
“These are the things about the job that matter the most to me,” said Terry.