JOHN FLYNN 1880-1951
John Flynn, who was one of the best renowned Australian Presbyterian ministers, was the creator of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He was a Presbyterian minister posted to Beltana in South Australia from 1911 and was made the first superintendent of the Australian Inland Mission in the following year. Since then, Flynn’s work continued throughout the outback in many ways until his death in 1951.Flynn lived in the outback for most of his life, setting up hostels and bush hospitals for miners, road workers, railwaymen and other settlers. John Flynn was born in the gold rush town of Moliagul on the 25th November 1880, as the third child to Thomas and Rosetta Flynn. It is said that Flynn’s later interest in bringing medical help to isolated areas was partly the result of his mother’s early death when he was only three. By the time Flynn had graduated from University High School in 1898, he knew that, whatever he did, he wanted to be of service to the public. He had worked as a schoolteacher and became interested in first aid. However, soon he realised that teaching was not exactly what he wanted to do so he decided, in 1903, that he would train to become a Presbyterian minister. After Flynn had become a Presbyterian minister in 1911, he was asked by the Presbyterian Church to travel throughout the central and northern areas of Australia in order to prepare a report on the conditions of the people who live there and how the church might help them. The report Flynn wrote, entitled “Northern Territory and Central Australia: A Call to the Church”, had a big influence on the church. Affected by the report, the members of the Presbyterian Church decided to set up a special organisation called the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) to look after the needs of the people of the outback, and they chose Flynn as its head. Starting with only one nurse, after five years of hard work 23 women were working in Flynn’s nursing hostels. They gradually created a...
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