How the Royal Flying Doctors Shaped Australia in the Twentieth Century

This unit examines the communities of Australians living in remote areas during the nineteenth and twentieth century, also known as Inlanders. It looks at the work of individuals such as John Flynn and the Royal Flying Doctor Service in transforming communication, education and medical attention in the Australian outback.

The unit is divided into three sections:

The instructions in italics are to be read aloud to students to help them put the activities into context.


The VIEW section is teacher-led with students responding to a visual prompt and then watching a short documentary called The Furthest Corner. Click through the sequence to access the discussion points for students before and after they view the documentary.


In EXPLORE, students work in pairs and are allocated an inquiry question. They visit the online virtual Royal Flying Doctor Service museum to research their question. Once completed, they report back their findings to the class.


In MAKE, students respond to the themes encountered in VIEW and EXPLORE by developing a class exhibition stand on the Royal Flying Doctor Service for an upcoming International Exhibition. Students can use a range of technologies and formats to develop their responses.


Students will cover the following curriculum standards in this unit of work.

Historical Concepts and Skills

Describe perspectives and identify ideas, beliefs and values of people and groups in the past (VCHHC084)

Historical significance
Explain the significance of an event and an individual or group that influenced change in the Australian colonies and in Australian society since Federation (VCHHC087)

Historical Knowledge

The Australian colonies
The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping and changing a colony (VCHHK092)

Australia as a nation
Significant contributions of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants, to changing Australian society (VCHHK096)