A special tour raises awareness of the RFDS’s life-saving work.

Story By Mark Muller

The wide hangar doors of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) base in Alice Springs are open, throwing light into the building and the planes resting within. Pilot Geoff Aro’s face is animated as he explains something of his work to the small group of men listening intently.
“We do a variety of things out of Alice,” Geoff says. “There are the emergency retrievals – ‘swoop and scoop’ – which tends to be the first thing people think of when you say ‘RFDS’,” he says. “There’s also a lot of inter-hospital transfers and clinic work – flying nurses and doctors out to remote clinics to provide ongoing health care to people in the remote stations and communities within a 700 kilometre radius of Alice Springs.”
His audience is part of a special ‘blokes tour of the outback’ put together by retiring chairman of RFDS Victoria Murray Rogers. They are from a wide range of backgrounds – farming, education, real estate, science, forestry, agribusiness and more.
This is the fourth tour Murray, a former executive chairman of Kellogg’s Australia and former CEO of AWB, has arranged and hosted. For him it’s an exercise in raising awareness and funds for the RFDS.
The tour left Melbourne two days earlier. After a stop off in Leigh Creek and a visit to the Prominent Hill Mine, they have moved on to Alice, via Uluru. The next week sees them visiting stations and RFDS bases in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales.

This Story is from Issue #104

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2016