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The real Outback ER

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

“We just provide the venue,” says Jennifer Treloar of Wiawera Station. But Mrs Treloar, a former President and Life Member of the RFDS, also takes appointments for the Flying Doctor, books the patients in and puts on a spread for everyone. “We just provide the venue,” says Jennifer Treloar of Wiawera Station. But Mrs Treloar, a former President and Life Member of the RFDS, also takes appointments for the Flying Doctor, books the patients in and puts on a spread for everyone.

By Craig Brealey

High honours won’t help when you are stuck outback on the wrong side of a muddy creek but, says Jennifer Treloar, it is nice to know you are appreciated.

Mrs Treloar of Wiawera Station (Olary via Cockburn) may now add the initials AM to her signature, having been admitted to the Order of Australia. But it is not very likely.

“We are just an ordinary family,” said Mrs Treloar who has just won the recognition for outstanding achievements and service to the nation.

“We had planned on coming in to Broken Hill for Australia Day but we got seventeen-and-a-half-millimetres of rain on Thursday night and we can’t get across the creek,” she told the BDT.

The honour was conferred for her service to community health in the outback.

Every month for 41 years, Mrs Treloar and her husband Keith have opened up the homestead to everyone who wants to see the Royal Flying Doctor.

There is even a waiting room where she offers “tea and coffee and something to eat” to Flying Doctor staff and the patients who might include a jackaroo who has come off his motorbike, a shearer with a bad tooth or a kid who needs an injection.

Wiawera also has a landing strip with lights for night-time emergencies such as traffic accidents.

The RFDS holds the clinic at the station, 120 kilometres south-west of Broken Hill, every 28 days. It is called the Wiawera Clinic and it covers an area of 8000 square kilometres.

Many years ago, said Mrs Treloar, people used to go to Radium Hill where a doctor and sister ran a clinic every Wednesday but then the uranium mining township closed down and somewhere else had to be found.

“We became part of a drop-in and it’s something that just evolved, really,” she said. “We never envisaged it would be going all this time later.”

The part of the homestead where the clinic was first held got washed away about 18 years ago, Mrs Treloar said, but the SA Government kindly replaced it with a stand-alone building which is air-conditioned and now includes a dental room.

She said was very surprised at having been nominated for the honour because “we have the Flying Doctor to thank; we just provide the venue and I do the housekeeping, virtually.

“I’m a bit flabbergasted because I’m not that kind of person.

“But it is very nice to think that people think I am worthy of it.”  

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