Dawn Visit

Sunday Morning, 4;15am, Phone rings.

It is the Community nurse with the news that we have an “evac” in an hour.

Rapid dressing and a bottle of water and a banana grabbed and the boss and I head off to the airstrip. Separate cars as we each have different tasks. He gets there first and turns the airstrip lights on. Dawn has not yet arrived and so the lights are needed. He heads off to the far end of the strip to check for camels, I head for the near end and as the boss returns we find around 20 camels clustered just off the landing end of the strip. They decide the sudden lights and the clapping is not welcome so they disappear down a decline.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service plane arrives early from Kalgoorlie and flies across the middle of the strip then turns to swing around to land. The Nurse arrives with the patient as the plane taxi’s in to the reception area. As soon as the engines stop the pilot and two nurses disembark. The medical conference and handover begins and I mention the camels to the pilot. He says that he saw them as he was flying over the strip.

I walk down to the near end of the strip again and keep an eye open for any beasts which have decided to come back. I look back and see the sun just rising and the RFDS personnel are re-embarking while the nurse is driving the Community ambulance back behind the gates.

I make a quick decision and move sideways, off the runway and wait.

Me and my camera.

Sitting quietly as the sun rises. The golden dawn as its backdrop. Yes, I had to do some “Gamma Correction” on this shot to bring the colours out.

Then rushing down the runway, at and past me, on its way to the nearest hospital, 55 minutes and 600Km away.

Sunday in the desert had begun.

9 responses to “Dawn Visit

  1. I hope the patient is okay.

    The Flying Doctor service is such an iconic part of Australia, thanks for sharing the photos of it in action.

    (and well done for evicting the camels in time!)


  2. this is high drama… camels? pre-dawn med evacs? great story, and amazing pics… thanks!


  3. I so agree, woo … it brings a tear to my eye when I think of all that the Reverend John Flynn put into place all that time ago and how it has continued on in such a way as to really be part of the heart of our vast country. If I won a million dollars I’d give half of it to the RFDS. I admire them. Apparently the nurse up there, a South African, thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread.


  4. That’s an early start …….. very evocative Archie ……..


  5. i miss punmu… 😦


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