Fulfilling the Vision
Flynn’s “Mantle of Safety” continued to cover the bush during the turbulent years of the Second World War, despite a severe manpower shortage. Women filled some of the gaps left by men going to war.
When peace returned, a new era had begun in which the input of women in positions previously dominated by men became commonplace. We find women Flying Dentists, Flying Doctor Pilots, teachers on School of the Air (which utilised Flynn’s wireless network), Flight Nurses and other new and significant roles as the Mantle of Safety spread its responsibilities. Always compassionate, they served with distinction in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations, but what shines through most of all is their irrepressible humour and pluck. The book is lightened by their amusing anecdotes. It is also enlivened by the romances that flourished between the city women and the rugged, lonely men of the bush.
Amongst the many significant women found in these pages is Meg McKay, Fred’s sacrificial and inspirational wife. She ran the Bush Mothers’ Home in Alice Springs on a voluntary basis when the money for salaries had run out, so that women could have their babies there and she could gently teach them how to tend the newborns. Her three children were uprooted from Sydney to Alice Springs and added to a workload that began each morning at 3.30 a.m. Somehow she managed, supported by the prayer and help of sympathetic elderly Aboriginal women.
The late Professor David Myers was kind enough to write: “This is the most heart-rending and inspiring book I have ever read on the selfless commitment of Flynn’s Outback Angels to the brave people of our vast Outback.”
On a personal level, I found this book just as inspiring to research, and it was a privilege to interview many of these amazing heroines of the Australian bush.
This title is available in Australian bookshops or directly from Boolarong Press.