Our History

“You look after their souls and I will look after their bodies.”

That’s what Dr Moncrieff Barron, Royal Far West’s first Chairman, said to our founder Rev Drummond, and it sums up our original ethos perfectly. While our mission has evolved since then, we take a similarly holistic approach to care today, by attending to the health of kids in need as well as the emotional and mental wellbeing of their families.

The vision The expansion A holistic approach to care Innovation from day one to forever

It was in 1924, while Cobar’s Reverend Stanley Drummond was recuperating in Manly, that he had an idea – to give kids from country NSW the opportunity to escape the hardship of the outback summer and see the sea for a few weeks. By 1925 Rev. Drummond and his wife Lucy had raised enough money for 58 kids from Bourke, Brewarrina, Cobar and Wilcannia to attend the very first camp.

The Drummonds discovered that many of the children who attended the camps needed special medical attention for a broad range of health challenges, including respiratory, optical, dental, nutritional and psychological disorders.

In collaboration with doctors, nurses, dentists, businesses, councils, pastoralists and the NSW Government, Rev. Drummond established the Far West Children’s Health Scheme. The Scheme took healthcare to regional and remote communities in NSW, while the camps continued by the sea.

It was important to everyone involved in establishing the Scheme that cost would not be a barrier to better health. The Scheme’s doctors and specialists, including Dr Moncrieff Barron who later became the first Chairman and medical superintendent, treated the kids for free.

Elsie Hill, the Far West Matron and General Secretary, hosted the first convalescent children in her home in Manly until the first permanent premises for the Scheme were purchased in 1929.

Connecting remote areas of NSW with kids’ health services requires resourceful thinking.

In the early years, we developed some groundbreaking services, including:
  • The first railway carriage baby clinic (1931)
  • The first aerial clinic (1932)
  • The first mobile dental clinic (1948)
The vision
The expansion
A holistic approach to care
Innovation from day one to forever

We have also always had the good fortune of attracting remarkable people to our ranks, who have had significant impact on our capabilities and reach. Our engineers have always developed custom solutions for kids in need when no existing solution was available. We’ve crafted countless callipers, belts, braces and walking frames that have been fitted, adapted and engineered in our on-site workshop.

When aviation pioneer Nancy Bird Walton joined us in 1935, she played a pivotal role by providing air transport for nurses in Bourke to reach remote areas and respond the emergencies. She later became a secretarial assistant with our mobile dentist clinic.

Our commitment to innovation continues today with activities like Telecare for Kids and the Community Access Trials.