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John Flynn

(25-11-1880 to 05-05-1951)


John Flynn was born in Moliagul, west of Bendigo, the second son of a country school teacher. He attended University High School in Carlton and enrolled with the Victorian Education Department to be trained as a teacher.

Wanting to become a Presbyterian minister, he became a home missionary in order to save money for university. He became interested in the outback soon after becoming a theology student at Ormond College (University of Melbourne) in 1907. He wrote "The Bushman's Companion", which provided practical information on first aid, which was extremely popular.

He moved to South Australia in 1911, where he travelled the Birdsville track, helped build a hospital at Oddnadatta and established "The Outback Battler" a quarterly magazine. Further travels in the Northern Territory saw Flynn head the Australian Inland mission, found fifteen inland hospitals and helped establish radio communications across the Outback.

Flynn founded the Aerial Medical Service in 1928, which became the Flying Doctor Service in 1942. He was awarded an OBE in 1933, and from 1939-1942 he was Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. He died in Sydney in 1951.