The bush gets in your blood

Date published

26 Feb 2020

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Central Operations was proud to acknowledge Brendan Eblen with Life Membership this year.

In accepting the honour, Brendan became only the 16th recipient of Life Membership in the history of RFDS Central Operations.

Soon after moving from Adelaide to Port Augusta in 1973, Brendan became involved with the RFDS through the William Creek Gymkhana, an annual outback racing carnival.Brendan took on the role of Chairman and rewrote the Constitution, resulting in the RFDS becoming the sole charity beneficiary of the Gymkhana. While he retired from the Committee in 1985, he remained an active supporter of the event for more than 30 years.

Brendan was then appointed to the RFDS Regional Committee to represent the Port Augusta community and in 1995, accepted a volunteer position on the Board of RFDS Central Operations for which he served for the next 24 years.

As was his way, he continued to hit the highways and backroads to connect with remote communities and spread the word about the Flying Doctor.

“The bush really gets in your blood,” Brendan said.“Even though I’m a city person, I’ve always felt a real belonging to the bush. And when you have a passion for something, you can enthuse other people easily.”

He was involved with the Great Australian Outback Cattle Drive, the 2013 ‘Wings on the Road’ bike ride from Timber Creek to Alice Springs and served an active role in promoting the story of Birdsville’s famous mailman, Tom Kruse. The latter was developed as a DVD series and continues to be sold as a RFDS fundraising initiative.

While Brendan retired from the Board last year, he remains a fervent advocate of the Flying Doctor.

“It never, ever felt like a job – it was more about community spirit,” he said.

“When you know you can make a meaningful contribution to something worthwhile, well, that’s its own reward.”