|05 June 2001
|Communication, transportation, health and education. These basic services are easy to take for granted, unless you live in outback Australia.
In the remote reaches of Australia
School of the Air:
On 8 June 2001, one of the
handful of institutions instantly associated
with Australia, the School of the Air, will
celebrate its 50th anniversary.
From its early days offering three sessions
per week, the school
Delivering postal services to
outback Australia is a challenging task, thanks
in no small part to our geography and widely
dispersed population. Every weekday some
19 million mail articles wheel or wing their way
across the continent, funnelled through a
network of mail and parcel centres. More than a
quarter of that load is to or from the scattered
stations, rural communities and offshore
islands that make up outback Australia.
Despite telephones and more recent forms
of electronic communication, mail services
remain crucial to remote communities. The size
of the rural mailbox pictured on the stamp is an
indicator of the importance of mail services to
outback Australians. It
Royal Flying Doctor Service:
The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is a
not-for-profit charitable service providing
aeromedical emergency and primary health
care services to people who live, work and travel
in regional and remote Australia. The plane and
ambulance pictured on the stamp are vital to
the delivery of these services.
Established in 1928, the RFDS developed
on a national basis in the 1930s. It was the
first comprehensive aerial medical organisation
in the world and remains unique for the
range of primary health care and emergency
services it provides. The RFDS was founded
by Reverend John Flynn of the Australian
Inland Mission, the
Today a mix of optical fibre, copper, radio and satellite systems deliver services to rural and remote Australia. Yet access to a fixed home telephone remains the single most important telecommunications service to people who live in remote areas.
The stamp shows a towering structure rising from the vast landscape of outback Australia. These guyed masts, commonly reaching 100 metres above the surrounding terrain, are vital to the technology that links people who live and work throughout remote Australia.
The towers, and the microwave radio antenna mounted on them, were first installed to provide automatic telephone services in the mid-1980s. Many have since been upgraded to meet the growing demand for fax and internet services for homes, schools and businesses.
The ability to move people and
goods between locations is fundamental to an
advanced economy. Like most aspects of life,
transport underwent tremendous change
during the century just past. Today social and
commercial needs are met by a mix of railways,
roads, airports and ports that link remote
Australia with its more populated commercial
Road trains, such as the one shown on the
stamp are a familiar sight in rural Australia. It
represents one of about a half million heavy
transport vehicles that travel the Australian
road network. The network carries 65% of