How the Royal Flying Doctor Service developed and executed a campaign that reached two million Australians.



“The Royal Flying Doctor Service is as Australian as the $20 note…” That’s what the media release said and it is true. The RFDS is an iconic Aussie organisation, its story venerated on our $20 note; the face of its founder, the Reverend John Flynn, in millions of wallets and purses across Australia since 1994.

But the RFDS had its origins more than 70 years ago when two events deeply affected Flynn. In the winter of 1917, the story of an injured stockman, Jimmy Darcy, clinging to life in remote Western Australia, gripped the nation. With medical assistance thousands of kilometres away, a local postmaster performed surgery on Jimmy – with Morse code instructions from a doctor in Perth, a penknife and morphine. The doctor then travelled for two weeks to reach Jimmy, but tragically the young man died just hours before he arrived.

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