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At the Very Heart: 100 Years in Remote Australia

Wakefield Press

2012, RRP $49.95

Reviewed by Bob Warrick.

TRAVEL our country from east to west, north to south, or go right round, and you'll pass through Frontier Services territory – 85 per cent of our land mass.

Before you leave, turn to this book, At the Very Heart, to read about the activities and services waiting to be discovered on your journey, and where staff still answer the call, seek the opportunity and commit themselves.

This wonderful commemorative volume of over 250 pages — around two pages for every year since the start of the Congregational Church patrols in the 1890s — celebrates the centenary of the dream of John Flynn to provide a "mantle of safety" that would overcome isolation and distance, so necessary for building and sustaining community in remote Australia.

The author pays a wonderful tribute to John Flynn, with references to his ever-present toolkit, his ecumenical nature, his outrage at the inequalities experienced by the people of the inland and his all-embracing vision — and his photographs which are in themselves text!

This book traces the history and growth of this ministry in a four-page decade-by-decade timeline showing how Frontier Services has continued the task of maintaining this mantle of safety.

It tells the story of not only Frontier Services, but also the development of Australia, as we read of remote projects and places that have shaped our nation.

The story of the activities of Frontier Services is presented through well-captioned photos — some recent and others from collections.

The majority are in colour, and capture so much of the essence and activity of Frontier Services and of life in the inland.

The index of people and place names will add to your enjoyment of your journey around our country.

You may not feel called to patrol ministry, but there's no shortage of other options for contributing to this mantle of safety.