Composed and shared by Ceduna Old Photos, Sue Trewartha and Erica Bodger.
The Advertiser. 2 Dec 1942. œOne of the few women who have practised as flyingÂ 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.Â Dr Freda Gibson, of Ceduna, never seeks publicity andÂ has seldom had it thrust upon her, yet her work forÂ outback patients is well worth recording in Australia’sÂ medical history. For more than two years,Â since her husband, Dr Roy Gibson, joined the military forces, DrÂ Freda Gibson has carried on singleÂ handed the medical work of CedunaÂ and all outposts visited by the localÂ aeroplane of the Church Bush AidÂ Society’s Flying Medical Service.Â She does all her own dispensingÂ and performs minor and majorÂ operations at Ceduna, Penong andÂ Cook hospitals, as well as at theÂ Koonibba hospital for aborigines.Â Cook, on the east-west line, is 236Â miles from Ceduna, it is the onlyÂ hospital for 500 miles either wayÂ along the line, and families of railway workers for these hundreds ofÂ miles depend upon Dr Gibson forÂ their medical aid.Â Tarcoola is the latest centre toÂ have a regular visit from the aeroplane. Some two years ago a smallÂ girl here was run over by a truckÂ and hurt rather badly, Dr GibsonÂ flew the 108 miles to the emergency call and brought back theÂ child to Ceduna hospital. TheÂ realisation that medical help was so readily forthcoming urged theÂ people of Tarcoola to apply for theÂ regular visits which are now established and set them working to prepare a landing ground for the aeroplane.Â Cases of pneumonia at Miller’sÂ Creek, 200 miles away and at MtÂ Eba, 176 miles, of a gastric ulcerÂ at Mulgathing, 270 miles, and ofÂ a crushed arm by falling rails atÂ a siding, 238 miles, are a fewÂ examples of emergency calls met byÂ Dr Gibson in the aeroplane whichÂ has travelled 33,100 miles on itsÂ medical mission. Â
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!