Look who features in this weekend’s edition of Compass.
He is Rev. John Flynn, and you have seen him on your $20 notes.
100 years ago he established the Australian Inland Mission, currently known as Frontier Services.
100 years ago this week the Australian Inland Mission was founded by Rev John Flynn – a 20th century visionary who built bush hospitals, helped develop the Pedal Radio and most famously pioneered the world’s first Flying Doctor Service.
Today the Australian Inland Mission goes by the name of ‘Frontier Services’ and John Flynn, the man on our $20 note, is an all but forgotten hero from the past. So, on the 100th anniversary of the unique frontier service he founded, Compass tells the extraordinary story of the man and his mission.
The Australian Inland Mission was established by the Presbyterian Church in 1912 to care for the needs of outback settlers. John Flynn, a young priest based in a bush parish, was appointed its founder and remained its superintendent for nearly 40 years. In that time he worked tirelessly to bring medicine and spiritual solace to the people of the outback, or ‘the inlanders’ as he called them.
Rather than building churches, Flynn focused on providing nurses, clinics, hospitals and hostels. Practical and pragmatic, he saw the church as the people and their well-being as his ministry. His life’s mission was to provide a ‘mantle of safety’ to the outback, and he was constantly on the road himself, personally assessing the changing needs of Australia’s inland pioneers.
Flynn went on to commission the invention of the Pedal Radio, which established a vital communication network throughout Australia’s remote interior. Significant as this was, for Flynn it was a means of realising his greater dream of launching the world’s first Flying Doctor Service which he did in 1928.
100 years after it all began, Compass tells the story of John Flynn and the work of his Australian Inland Mission. It features beautiful period archive, and interviews with people who knew and worked with Flynn, and is set against the backdrop of the service’s centenary celebrations staged this year in central Australia.
Compass brings the story right up to the present too, by following Frontier Services today as it continues the work pioneered by John Flynn, in much the same way as he foresaw, with 21 outback patrol ministers including two flying padres reaching out and helping people across remote Australia.
6:30pm Sunday September 23rd ABC1.