On Thursday 10 May, 25 vintage and General Aviation (GA) aircraft landed at Roma Airport from Moree in New South Wales as a part of a 'pilgrimage' from Western New South Wales to Mount Isa in North West Queensland. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has helped thousands of people in regional and rural areas of Australia over the past 90 years, and now it is celebrating those years of service with 'The Great Pilgrimage'.
The event will also include a re-enactment of the RFDS's inaugural flight from Cloncurry to Julia Creek on May 17, 1928 to attend to two patients at a bush hospital.
The aircraft - many from the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA) - will take nine days to fly from Dubbo to Mount Isa via Moree, Roma, Charleville, Longreach, Winton, Cloncurry and Julia Creek. The aircraft are being 'led' by current RFDS Beech B200C King Air VH-MSZ "FlyDoc 221".
From Roma Airport, the aircraft are also due to depart and then touch down at Charleville Airport on Friday 11 May, and then Longreach Airport on Saturday 12 May with another public viewing at Longreach during the morning on Sunday 13 May.
Back at Roma Airport on Thursday, after all the aircraft touched down during the morning, a public viewing of the aircraft was held during the afternoon which also included a display by the local historic car club.
Finally, the RFDS has also received an early birthday present, with the Federal Government announcing more than $80 million in this week's budget to continue the service's work, as well as deliver primary health initiatives such as dental care programs.
Sincere thanks to local enthusiast Ken D for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!
All photos taken by Ken Dawes ©