Composed and shared by Ceduna Old Photos, Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger.
The Advertiser. 2 Dec 1942. “One of the few women who have practised as flying doctors throughout the Commonwealth has her headquarters in South Australia, and her regular aerial trips are as much a part of her weekly life as the running of her home and the upbringing of her two children. Dr Freda Gibson, of Ceduna, never seeks publicity and has seldom had it thrust upon her, yet her work for outback patients is well worth recording in Australia’s medical history. For more than two years, since her husband, Dr Roy Gibson, joined the military forces, Dr Freda Gibson has carried on single handed the medical work of Ceduna and all outposts visited by the local aeroplane of the Church Bush Aid Society’s Flying Medical Service. She does all her own dispensing and performs minor and major operations at Ceduna, Penong and Cook hospitals, as well as at the Koonibba hospital for aborigines. Cook, on the east-west line, is 236 miles from Ceduna, it is the only hospital for 500 miles either way along the line, and families of railway workers for these hundreds of miles depend upon Dr Gibson for their medical aid. Tarcoola is the latest centre to have a regular visit from the aeroplane. Some two years ago a small girl here was run over by a truck and hurt rather badly, Dr Gibson flew the 108 miles to the emergency call and brought back the child to Ceduna hospital. The realisation that medical help was so readily forthcoming urged the people of Tarcoola to apply for the regular visits which are now established and set them working to prepare a landing ground for the aeroplane. Cases of pneumonia at Miller’s Creek, 200 miles away and at Mt Eba, 176 miles, of a gastric ulcer at Mulgathing, 270 miles, and of a crushed arm by falling rails at a siding, 238 miles, are a few examples of emergency calls met by Dr Gibson in the aeroplane which has travelled 33,100 miles on its medical mission.”
In three years Dr Freda Gibson war time flying doctor has made 214 flights, covered 37,663 miles, treated 2769 patients, maintained the private practices of her and her soldier husband and managed her own home with children George, Pauline and Margaret. She was awarded an OBE. Her husband joined the army in 1940 and she took over the flying doctor service maintained by the BCA until he returned in 1944.
Sister Lawes, Roy and Freda Gibson, Miss Hitchcock, Sister Dowling 1935. A busy time at the Ceduna Hospital, second hospital, in East Tce. What great photos. Babies galore!