I had visited the John Flynn Museum during my first visit to Alice Springs. On this trip, I visited his final resting place, shown in the photo below.
John Flynn was born in 1880. His education was rather remarkable, and he was a published author by the age of 20 (The Bushman’s Companion). The next year, he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and sent into the outback, to find out what conditions were like. What he learned would create the goal of his life — to spread “the mantle of safety over inland Australia.”
Flynn founded the Australian Inland Mission, which he supervised until his death in 1951. He built the first hospital in Alice Springs, created a network of medical facilities across the outback, and created the Aerial Medical Service — which would in time renamed the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He also built homes for old people and crusaded on behalf of the Aborigines. In fact, his medical facilities were equally open to Aborigines and whites, which was pretty startling in his day. He also wrote and published a magazine called the Inlander, which kept Australians apprised of both the issues facing people in the outback and what was being done to help resolve those issues.
If you’re interested in more about John Flynn, the Australian Dictionary of Biography offers more details.
Having first been introduced to Flynn at the museum, I was pleased to have a chance to pay my respects at his grave site. The words on the plaque at the small monument reflect both his goals and his accomplishments: “His vision encompassed the continent. He established the Australian Inland Mission and founded the Royal Flying Doctor Service. He brought to lonely places a spiritual ministry and spread a mantle of safety over them by medicine and the radio.”
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