THE FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE

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Travelling in Remote Australia: Introducing The Royal Flying Doctor Service

Picture the scene. You’re venturing through the Australian outback when suddenly disaster strikes. You’ve broken your leg and cannot move, but you’re hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest town and thousands of kilometres away from the nearest hospital. Local towns may not have any medical services, and it would take hours and hours to travel to a hospital by road…


Fortunately, Australia has the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides emergency and primary health care services throughout Australia. As one of the world’s most comprehensive aeromedical organisations, it provides a 24-hour service to those living, working and travelling in Australia.

When travelling, it is important to be aware of this vital service. In addition, you should keep a few key things in mind to help you stay safe when travelling to remote regions.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service

Founded in 1928 as the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service by Reverend John Flynn, the Royal Flying Doctor Service provides emergency assistance to those who require medical attention in Australia. The service provides medical treatment on the ground and has a fleet of aircraft used to transport patients to hospital for emergency treatment.

In 2014/2015, the RFDS provided more than 4,000 emergency evacuations and is a true lifeline for people travelling in the remotest parts of Australia. It has several bases around the country and a fleet of 18 aircraft that are capable of landing in a variety of locations.

If you would like to learn more about the RFDS, you can visit one of the visitor centres and discover more about the work of this vital organisation:

• The Bruce Langford Visitor Centre – Broken Hill, NSW
• The Dubbo Visitor Centre – Dubbo, NSW

Preparing for Outback Travel

As we have mentioned, the sheer size of Australia means that you can easily find yourself hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away from medical assistance. If you are traveling to remote areas, you should plan your trip carefully to help avoid emergencies and be better prepared to deal with them should the worst happen.

• Plan your route carefully. Sort out an itinerary in advance, and don’t forget to invest in a good quality map.

• Take enough water. It is recommended to carry around 10 litres of water per person, per day. Water should be stored in small containers, and you should NEVER rely on waterholes, dams, mills, etc.

• Take enough food. It is recommended to carry enough food for each person for two days.

• Bring matches (or a lighter), and a fire extinguisher.

• Pack a first aid kit – and, if possible, go on a first aid course before travel.

• Wear appropriate clothing – including a sun hat, good walking shoes, summer clothes for the day and warmer clothes for the evening.

• Apply sunscreen and insect repellent.

In addition, it is recommended that you don’t travel during the hottest times of the year.

If you become lost or your vehicle breaks down, it is important to stay with your vehicle. Look for shade and shelter, and keep yourself hydrated.

In an emergency, call 000 to contact your local emergency services.

Article by Dan Flower

JOBS WITH A DIFFERENCE-PEARLING AND FISHING

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Pearling and Fishing Jobs in Western Australia

Western Australia is well known for its established pearling and fishing industries. Although these industries have faced challenges in recent years, they are worth millions of dollars and remain popular among backpackers looking for work.

If you are looking for an alternative to the usual farming and fruit picking jobs, the pearling and fishing industries are well worth looking into. Although this type of work is tough and typically involves long hours, it can also be extremely rewarding and offers you the chance to get close to nature. What’s more, this kind of work can be lucrative and provides plenty of opportunities to learn new skills.

Pearling Jobs in Western Australia

The pearling industry in Western Australia was worth $67 million in 2014. It involves the farming of oysters for pearls (especially South Sea pearls), which are then sold for use in jewellery and other products. There is also mother of pearl, which is used in jewellery, buttons, furniture and other items.

Most of Australia’s pearling industry is focused around Broome in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, although it also has a significant presence in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

If you’re thinking of looking for pearling jobs, the first thing you should know is that it is extremely hard physical work and as such it definitely doesn’t suit everyone! The days can be long and difficult, with work typically starting at 6am in the morning and going through until late afternoon. Many pearling farms offer jobs where you work and live on the boat for several weeks at a time, although other farms allow you to work more typical shift patterns and sleep on dry land.

Although it is hard, dirty and even smelly work, pearling can also be extremely interesting and rewarding. If you have an interest in the sea and marine life, pearling offers the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature first hand and get close to the diverse range of marine life found in this part of Australia.

Pearling takes place all year round, but the busiest time of year is usually from April to October. As such, this is the best time to look for pearling jobs.

 Fishing Jobs in Western Australia

Fishing is another interesting alternative to traditional backpacker farm jobs. Again, it is hard work and often involves extremely long hours, but for the right sort of person it offers many rewards and can be extremely lucrative. If you enjoy being out at sea and fancy a new adventure, this could be the right opportunity for you.

Fishing work is most readily available between March and November. You’ll be fishing for prawns, crayfish, scallops and other shellfish, with work available both on the boats and in the processing factories. Most skippers do their own hiring, so it’s worth contacting them directly before the season begins. Work may be available through backpacker recruitment agencies, but it’s worth keeping in mind that most fishermen prefer to do things themselves and rely mostly on word of mouth.

Article by Dan Flower