Fred McKay (1915 – 2000) air force chaplain, John Flynn’s successor
Fred McKay was an icon in the Royal Flying Doctor Service, after taking up the position from the Reverend John Flynn, who, as Flynn of the inland, set up the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Fred McKay, who grew up in Queensland on a sugarcane farm, joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service and took up the excellent work of John Flynn. One of his first tasks was to set up a hospital at Coopers Creek. He certainly got things done. Many an outback child owes his or her education to Fred’s intervention.
Image above from the Biography, Fred McKay : Successor to Flynn of the Inland” by Maisie McKenzie. http://www.3squadron.org.au/subpages/McKay.htm
Condolence motion for Fred McKay
I acknowledge the recent passing and life of the Reverend Dr Fred McKay, AC, CMG, OBE, known and loved by everyone in the Royal Flying Doctor Service simply as Fred. It is a sad yet joyous occasion. It is a time of celebration and gratitude for the life of a great man. Fred touched the hearts and souls of everyone he met. He was universally regarded as a kind, gentle, man who had the courage to speak up for his beliefs. He could blend vision, reason and courage with his personal commitment to those who live in the bush. People who met him saw in Fred a deeply spiritual man filled with the love of God. His deep Christian commitment was apparent, yet unobtrusive. Fred’s great strength was his capacity to lead by practical example, instead of by preaching.
He was an icon in the Royal Flying Doctor Service, after taking up the position from the Reverend John Flynn, who, as Flynn of the inland, set up the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Fred McKay, who grew up in Queensland on a sugarcane farm, joined the Royal Flying Doctor Service and took up the excellent work of John Flynn. One of his first tasks was to set up a hospital at Coopers Creek. He ran planes out of Alice Springs, Cloncurry and many outback areas of Australia. He certainly got things done. Many an outback child owes his or her education to Fred’s intervention.
The flying doctor aircraft Fred McKay, St Philip’s College Alice Springs, the Old Timers’ homes, the John Flynn Memorial Church, which he built in memory of John Flynn, are just some reminders of Fred’s practical commitment to the people of the bush. They will also endure to remind us of Fred’s capacity to inspire other generous people who shared his vision. He was an outstanding Australian and at his funeral one of the leading mourners was the Governor-General, Sir William Deane. He was known throughout Australia for his work and practical Christian beliefs. Certainly, Fred led by example. As Australians we should commemorate his life and excellent work in inland Australia. Like Flynn of the inland he was Fred McKay of the inland. I was privileged to attend his memorial service last Friday at St Stephen’s Uniting Church. I should like to conclude by quoting the last verse of the hymn that was sung to celebrate his life:
Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,
Endless is the victory thou o’er death has won.
I extend my condolences and sympathy to Mrs Meg McKay and the family.
In the late 1950’s the Rev Fred McKay, successor to the Rev John Flynn as Superintendent of the Australian Inland Mission, lobbied the United Church in the Northern Territory to build and expand on this important start.
Together the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches embarked on a missionary venture to develop St Philip’s College – a new, larger residential hostel which would one day become a full boarding school.
An ideal site – 22 acres of bush at the junction of the Charles and Todd Rivers and backing on to the Telegraph Station National Park – was secured and after six years of planning, construction began in 1964.
Fred McKay led the legendary work parties comprised of volunteers from all over Australia who travelled to Alice Springs, paying their own way and volunteering their expertise, time and labour, to turn a dream into a reality. This fantastic tradition continues today, with work parties arriving each mid-year holiday.
A homeward-bound letter from Lavariano
A letter was written on 15 June 1945 by Padre Fred McKay, one of three R. A. A. F. Chaplains for 3, 450 and 454 Squadrons. It was sent by him to the families of serving airmen.
Fred and Meg McKay Peace Garden
This tranquil garden at St Philip’s College in Alice Springs, Central Australia, commemorates the life of our beloved Padre the Rev. Fred McKay, who died on 31 March 2000. By its very name, it pays deserved tribute to his extraordinary wife Meg who, with Fred, achieved so much through selfless sacrifice to help others.
John Flynn (1880 – 1951) Presbyterian minister
Leave a Reply, comments are welcome.