Our History

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

That’s what Dr George Moncrieff Barron told our Cobar-based founder, the Rev. Stanley Drummond, when he learned of his great plans for the children of the Outback.

Established in 1924, Royal Far West has a rich history of innovation, dedication, and determination to improve the health and wellbeing of children who live in rural and remote communities, connecting them to the care they need but cannot otherwise access because of where they live.

As one of Australia’s most enduring and respected charities, we consistently adapt to meet the changing needs of country children and families. We boldly go where the system stops, to wherever we are needed, using technology to ensure no child and no community is beyond our reach.

1924
  • 1924

    The Founders

    Cobar-based Reverend Stanley Gillick Drummond conceives the idea for the Far West Children’s Health Scheme while recuperating on...

  • 1925 First Campers
    1925

    First Far West seaside camp

    58 country children attend the first Far West seaside camp. Country children are nominated by local doctors, teachers, beach nurses,...

  • Dr Moncrieff Barron
    1926

    Medical care arrives

    Noticing the outback children’s medical needs and lack of access to health services where they live, Northern Beaches’...

  • Elsie Hill
    1928/9

    Manly guesthouse opens

    Mrs Elsie E. Hill turns her guesthouse in Wentworth Street, Manly, into a home for the Far West children coming...

  • 1930 teacher appointed
    1930

    The NSW Department of Education provides a teacher

    The NSW Department of Education provides a teacher so that the children, some of whom stay 12 months or more...

  • 1931 Railway Clinics
    1931

    Outback paediatric innovation

    Recognising the need to bring basic paediatric services to NSW’s rural and remote communities, the first of four innovative...

  • 1932 Aerial Baby Clinic
    1932

    First aerial baby clinic takes flight

    The innovation continues, with Bourke resident Sid Coleman buying a plane when he realises the need to reach the more...

  • Drummond House
    1932

    The Far West Building Fund Committee is formed

    The Far West Building Fund Committee is formed to raise funds to build the Drummond Home in Wentworth Street, Manly....

  • 1935

    Travelling Dental Clinic

    A travelling Dental Clinic is introduced, with Dr Walter Wearn and his wife Polly Wearn providing the first comprehensive dental...

  • Nancy Bird Walton
    1935

    The Angel of the Outback

    Pioneer Australian aviator Nancy Bird (later known as Nancy Bird Walton AO, OBE, ‘the Angel of the Outback’)...

  • Royal Far West Branches
    1935

    Committed Branches support The Far West

    More than 100 Far West community Branches are in outback NSW, supporting and raising substantial funds for The Far West....

  • 1938 - Patients having lessons
    1938

    School opens

    The NSW Department of Education Far West School formally opens to ensure that country children, some of whom live with...

  • 1945 - Boot Making
    1945

    Polio impact

    The outbreak of polio sees The Far West evolve to meet the changing needs of many country children, leading to...

  • 1948 Betty Muzyczuk
    1948

    Radio station 2PK Parkes supports our kids

    Announcer Betty Muzyczuk becomes Radio Station 2PK Parkes Sunshine Club’s familiar voice and face. Over many years the station...

  • 1959 - New School Opens
    1952–59

    Plans to expand

    The two blocks of land on the corner of Wentworth St and South Steyne are acquired for the new Hospital...

  • 1965 Mobile Car Cinics
    1965

    Mobile car clinics commence

    Services expand as Mobile Car Clinics are introduced to support the Rail Car Clinics in regional NSW....

  • 1970 - Queen Elizabeth
    1970

    Queen Elizabeth II visits

    Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne visit, resulting in the granting of the official prefix ‘Royal’. We are now known...

  • 1987 - aged care
    1987

    Aged Care services

    The introduction of Medicare leads to the beginning of aged health care alongside our children’s health services. Our aged...

  • Enhanced services for children
    2011

    Enhanced clinical services for children

    Royal Far West evolves once again with the launch of new service programs, including enhanced clinical services for children with...

  • HKBS launch 2011
    2011

    Healthy Kids Bus Stop launches

    Royal Far West partners with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) to launch the Healthy Kids Bus Stop program, which offers...

  • OT in Telecare session
    2013

    Telecare for Kids begins

    Following encouragement from our CEO Lindsay Cane AM to grow and expand the reach of our services, our clinicians innovate...

  • 2015 Fitzroy Crossing
    2015

    Services expand into QLD & WA

    We are invited into remote communities in Queensland and Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia to support children and families with...

  • 2015 Windmill
    2015

    Windmill program launches

    Our new Windmill disability program launches, supporting country children with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, developmental and/or global delay....

  • The Invisible Children
    2017

    Launch of “The Invisible Children” report

    Royal Far West and the Murdoch Institute Children’s Research Institute launch ‘The Invisible Children’ report, an evidence-based review...

  • 2018

    Centre for Country Kids Opens

    Royal Far West officially opens Australia’s only integrated health, education and disability service for country children and families, the...

  • 2018 Awards
    2018

    Royal Far West wins awards

    We receive the Australian Charity Outstanding Achievement Award for out Telecare for Kids program and win the prestigious NSW Mental...

  • 2019 - Stories of the Invisible Children
    2019

    “Stories of The Invisible Children” report

    In conjunction with Charles Sturt University, we launch our “Stories of the Invisible Children” report, which examines the lived experiences...

  • 2019 Telecare goes national
    2019

    Grant supports national expansion of Telecare for Kids

    In recognition of our innovative proposal and deep experience, the Commonwealth Department of Health grants Royal Far West $19.7m...

  • CEO Lindsay Cane
    2019

    CEO Lindsay Cane AM

    Royal Far West CEO Lindsay Cane is awarded an AM for significant service to community health, particularly in regional areas....

  • 2019 Architects Appointed
    2019

    Architects appointed for health and wellbeing campus

    Royal Far West appoints two of Australia’s most lauded architects, Glenn Murcutt AO and Angelo Candalepas to design an...

  • 2019

    Bushfire Recovery Program partnership

    Royal Far West, in partnership with UNICEF Australia and the Paul Ramsay Foundation, creates the first dedicated recovery program to...

  • 2020 - Telehealth
    2020

    RFW pivots during pandemic

    We respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting the vast majority of our services to a telehealth model,...

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