History of the Royal Flying Doctor Service

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has been in existence for almost 90years. Over the years, they’ve offered quality medical services to various regions in Australia.


John Flynn served as a reverend in the Outback. He saw firsthand the poor medical services offered to people from these remote areas. He wished to assist people with critical health issues that needed specialized care yet he didn’t have the means. One day in 1917 he received a heartfelt letter from a young Victorian medical student by the name Clifford Peel. He was 24years old and served as a lieutenant in the army. Mr. Peel had immense interest in aviation and suggested incorporation of medical services together with aviation for medical service delivery in the Outback. Sadly, he was shot down in France while carrying out his military duties. He didn’t witness his dream to offer efficient medical services to remote regions of the country, but he gave Reverend Flynn the idea to help people in the Outback through aviation.


Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) became a reality in 1928 May 15th. Reverend Flynn partnered with Mr. McKay and started the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service but renamed it as the Royal Flying Doctor Service. On May 17th, 1928 air bound medical services were offered to reach out to people in remote locations. By 1929 people from remote locations could access their services through the use of a radio receiver operated from a pedal generator. This was a major breakthrough in the medical sector as people with emergencies from all over the country could contact RFDS and get assistance regardless of their location.

Growth and Expansion

The Royal Flying Doctor Service grew rapidly due to exemplary medical service delivery to people faced with critical emergencies in Australia. Their expansion enabled them to reach remote regions offering their services to patients in other parts of Australia including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The Royal Flying Doctor Service has changed its logo a total of 8 times since conception in 1928. They have modernized their look and re-branded themselves to show their growth over the past 90years. By 1960 RFDS discarded the use of aircraft contractors after the purchase of their own aircrafts and hiring the services of qualified engineers and pilots. They operate from 24 bases across the country while offering quality medical services via a fleet of 69 aircrafts which are fully equipped.


The Royal Flying Doctor Service earned recognition as early as the 1950s by Sir Robert Menzies who was the Prime Minister at the time. In 1955 the RFDS was commended for their work by Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. She recognised their efforts while speaking at Broken Hill, New South Wales one of the bases of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.


The Royal Flying Doctor Service has offered quality medical services to people in the Outback and other regions in this continent. Their incredible work and services are admired by many throughout the country. As a nation, we hope to get more of their efficient and much-needed services.