The real story of outback Australia, through the lens of one of its most dedicated heroes, is now on show at the National Library of Australia.

Beyond the Furthest Fences: the Australian Inland Mission collection display celebrates 100 years of life-saving work by the Australian Inland Mission – now Frontier Services – and its founder the Reverend John Flynn.

 In 1912, Reverend Flynn and the Presbyterian Church established the Australian Inland Mission. Their aim was to ease the isolation of outback Australians through the tireless work of nurses, volunteers and roving ministers – and this led to the development of the Flying Doctor Service and the pedal-powered radio.

At its height, dedicated AIM staff looked after an area in excess of three million square kilometres.

 An avid amateur photographer, Flynn documented the early work of AIM, using his photographs to help promote the cause to the rest of Australia.

 In 1977, Frontier Services presented more than 4000 images to the National Library so this invaluable record of the dedication of pioneering missionaries and the hardships they endured would be preserved for all Australians to see. 

 The images in this display range from nurses proudly showing off a bush hospital’s latest arrivals to operating a pedal-powered wireless from the verandah of an outback home to two reverends pulling their car through a bog on the Cape York track.

 Today, as AIM celebrates its centenary, Frontier Services continues to carry out life-saving work, providing medical, physical and spiritual support to isolated inland communities. For more information about the centenary, go to

 Beyond the Furthest Fences: the Australian Inland Mission collection opens on 10 August 2012 and runs until 11 August 2013.

Free display, Fourth Floor, National Library of Australia, Canberra.

 High-res images from the display are now available.

 Media Contact: Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, National Library of Australia 

T: 02 6262 1704

M: 0401 226 697