Making Tracks

Date published

06 May 2021

Flying Doctor founder Rev. John Flynn was also known as “Flynn of the Inland”, having crossed the country’s ochre heart over decades to establish vital links to health care in the bush.

Travel the RFDS historical trail

If you’re getting ready to hit the outback tracks, consider stopping in at some of these places rich in RFDS history.

RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility
  1. RFDS Darwin Tourist Facility

Perched on Darwin’s beautiful waterfront, this award-winning Tourist Facility tells the story of the Flying Doctor. Immerse yourself in the JohnFlynn hologram presentation and virtual reality experience and complete your visit by taking part in the 1942 WWII Bombing of Darwin exhibit at the same venue. Click here to visit the website.

John Flynn Obelisk

2. John Flynn Obelisk, Tennant Creek

Located about 25km out of Tennant Creek at the junction of the north-south (Stuart) and east-west (Barkly) highways, the John Flynn memorial cairn was erected in 1952 – just a year after Flynn’s death. The stone obelisk stands at 6m.

Flynn's grave

3. Flynn’s grave, MacDonnell Ranges

The John Flynn Memorial Historical Reserve in the foothills of the MacDonnell Ranges outside of Alice Springs is Flynn’s final resting place. The grave features a plaque concisely expressing a lifetime’s achievements: “His vision encompassed the continent.”

Alice Springs RFDS Tourist Facility

4. RFDS Alice Springs Tourist Facility

Housed in Alice’s original RFDS base, find out why the Flying Doctor remains so critical for those who choose to live and work in the bush. See and learn through the heroic tales of the service in Central Australia since 1939. Click here to visit the website.

Inland Mission Hospital Oodnadatta

5. Early Australian Inland Mission Hospital, Oodnadatta

While the original building is not open to the public, you can find a plaque commemorating Flynn’s visits to this outback post within the boundaries of the existing health clinic. For 13 years (up until 1939), this was the only hospital in Central Australia.

Smith of Duresk Mission

6. Smith of Dunesk Mission, Beltana

This outback mission was the foundation of the Australian Inland Mission and later the RFDS. You can still attend services at the church, which is among many local attractions in this State Heritage listed town.

Wadlata Outback Centre

7. Wadlata Outback Centre, Port Augusta

Delve into the ‘Tunnel of Time’ at this award-winning centre and learn not only about the Flying Doctor but the amazing history of the Flinders Ranges and the South Australian outback. Click here to visit the website.

Pioneer Women's Garden Adelaide

8. Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, Adelaide

Tucked behind Government House, this garden was established to honour South Australia’s pioneer women, including Adelaide Miethke (founder of the School of the Air using the RFDS radio networks).