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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Flynn of the Inland

1955-1956
Harry Hudson

pen, ink and gouache on paper (67.5 cm x 57.0 cm)

The Very Rev. John Flynn OBE (1880–1951) founded the Australian Inland Mission (AIM) of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and spent more than 39 years travelling in the outback. Flynn envisaged a number of schemes to help white and Aboriginal outback communities develop their own safety network. To this end he established nursing hostels and patrols across northern Australia, and later persuaded Alfred Traeger, inventor of the pedal radio, to help bring two-way transmission to remote areas. These developments paved the way for the inception of the AIM Aerial Medical Service in May 1928. It was renamed the Flying Doctor Service of Australia in 1942, with the 'Royal' designation added in 1954. In turn, the strategies used by the Aerial Medical Service helped to inspire the creation of the 'school of the air'.

In 1955, author and artist Harry Hudson set out on a 32,000-kilometre tour of the outback to meet the doctors, nurses, airmen and radio technicians who had devoted their lives to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This portrait featured as the frontispiece to Hudson's book, Flynn's Flying Doctors (1956), which was illustrated with 130 of the author's sketches. Flynn's friends described him as a meticulous dresser who maintained his immaculate presentation, even in soaring outback temperatures.

Purchased 1999

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Harry Hudson (age 48 in 1955)

John Flynn OBE DD

Subject professions

Religion

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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