A visual commitment: the story behind our NAIDOC-inspired uniforms

A visual commitment: The story behind our NAIDOC-inspired uniforms

Date published

07 Jul 2024

Four years ago, we partnered with two South Australian Aboriginal artists to launch a major artwork and uniform piece inspired by the remote communities we serve. This NAIDOC Week (7 – 14 July), it remains a source of pride for our crews in SA/NT.

Antakirinja/Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha artists Kelly Taylor and T’keyah Ware’s original Flight Journey Line and full-size prints are displayed at all 11 RFDS SA/NT Bases, Clinics and Patient Transfer Facilities with a statement of acknowledgement of the respective local Traditional Owners.

The artwork’s motif has been reproduced onto uniforms worn by all RFDS SA/NT staff, including clinicians, pilots, engineers and support staff and is a visual commitment of our pledge to cultural safety.

The piece reflects a powerful connection between the Flying Doctor and the mother-daughter artist duo, going back more than two decades.

“The RFDS has a special place in our family’s heart as I have been flown out with RFDS from Ceduna to Adelaide with two of my pregnancies in 1999 and 2002,” artist Kelly Taylor said.

“I went into emergency at the Ceduna Hospital when I was pregnant with T’keyah and was then flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. I really appreciate everything the Flying Doctor does for the community.”

NAIDOC artwork unveiling
Photo: Antakirinja/Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha artists Kelly Taylor and T’keyah Ware first unveiled the artwork at a special NAIDOC event in 2020.

Flight Journey Line

The artwork titled Flight Journey Line has a story depicting the Flying Doctor’s ongoing presence in remote communities where crews provide emergency evacuations, primary health care, mental health care, oral health care and chronic disease management.

The blue line traces an aircraft’s journey past waterholes, remote communities and towns along with showing tracks and trails of the RFDS’s past, present and future.

The footprints represent the RFDS specialist health care teams in different remote communities and towns, while blue dots represent the ocean and the earth colours represent the land.

Flight Journey Line