Frontier Services has a long history of serving rural and remote communities in Queensland and across Australia. Now it is entering a new era, writes Rebecca Beisler.
On a remote property in the outback, you start work when the sun comes up. The next 12 hours until the sun goes down, there is work to do in the paddock or in the sheds, feeding stock, mustering, shearing, checking dam levels and operating machinery. But for many families, this is just the start.
Meals need to be cooked, washing needs to be hung, bookwork has to be completed and for young families, there is the care of children. Many parents also perform the role of home teacher for children studying with School of the Air. Parents with children under five are often working around the clock.
Because of their isolated location, these families do not have access to mainstream childcare services. The nearest childcare centre might be four hours away. Most families manage incredibly well, but at times, they just need a short break. This is where Frontier Services steps in to help.
Sixteen years ago, Frontier Services started the Remote Family Care Service (RFCS). Childcare workers travel to the homes of isolated families to provide relief childcare for up to three weeks.
It is a valuable opportunity for the family, and in most cases, the mother, to manage the workload, get through a busy time, or simply take some time out.
“We had Emily from the Remote Family Care Service come and stay with us during shearing in February,” said Julie Brown, a mother of two from a sheep and cattle station west of Longreach.
“My son Xavier also started prep this year, and so it was an incredibly busy and challenging time. Just having that extra pair of hands is a wonderful help.”
RFCS supports more than 250 families with a team of ten childcare workers. They travel across the state from the far north, to the south, and west to the Northern Territory border.
It is just one of the community services run by Frontier Services in Queensland to support remote families alongside its Patrol Ministry network.
Now 101 years after John Flynn began this mantle of safety, Frontier Services continues to support both the practical and spiritual needs of families in the outback.
This year the organisation has entered a new chapter with a number of significant changes, however its commitment to remote Australia is stronger than ever.
“As we begin a new era, Frontier Services will continue to sustain the church’s commitment to the people of remote Australia through its Patrol Ministry network and community services which make a vital difference to people’s lives,” said Interim National Director Rev Alan White.