Saturday, May 2, 2009

VIC Greats 4 - John Flynn and MacFarlane Burnett & JC Eccles

John Flynn is a fair dinkum Aussie hero.   The Very Reverend John Flynn was the founder of the Inland Mission of the Presbyterian Church.  Through his work for the Inland Mission John Flynn established the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) - the "mantle of safety" for remote Australian communities.   

The Inland Mission established a network of bush hospitals and "boundary rider" ministers who travelled the loneliest areas of remote outback caring for the people.  Along the way to the RFDS there were of course innumerable obstacles to overcome, not least of which was a means by which people could contact the flying doctor for help.  This problem was resolved by the invention of the peddle radio by Alf Tregear in 1929. 
The story of the conception and development of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and John Flynn's part in it is very interesting and I have provided links to a couple of sites of interest, the best in the title of course and takes you to the RFDS website. Please take a look there as they can of course tell the story way better than I could. 
People interested in exploring the story of John Flynn would be well advised to visit Alice Springs.  The bush nursing home of the Inland Mission at Alice Springs is now a museum and you can explore the innovative architecture to keep patients cool in the harsh climate or the peddle radio development along with other artifacts.  John Flynn is buried near Alice and of course you can also visit the RFDS base in Alice Springs.  Also of great interest contextually is the Telegraph Station at Alice springs, where there is historical information about the founding of Alice and dealing with medical emergencies in the days before there was any available medical assistance.  A visit there is highly recommended also.
We take the RFDS for granted these days, but it is still a not-for-profit charitable endeavourand although they receive some Government funding, they relying on donations to enable the provision of a quality service.   

(Sir) Frank Macfarlane Burnet was Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne 1944-66. In 1960 he (with P. Medawar) was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of acquired immunological tolerance. His work influenced the later developments of DNA sequencing.

I would encourage readers to follow the link in the above title to an article about Sir Frank MacFarlane Burnett and all that he achieved in his distinguished career.  Definitely a Victorian to be proud of.

and heres another!!!

Well I was going to describe Sir John Eccles as a nobel prize winner, but he's way more than that.  A giant in science, he was internationally recognised for his "remarkable and outstanding impact on the neurosciences for more than six decades."   Reading his biography what can I say - wow! Please follow the link and the very least just cop a look at the list of honours bestowed in him.  Why is he not a household name?

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