The Royal Flying Doctor Service was formed in 1928 as the Australian Inland Mission Aerial Medical Service, with its first base in Cloncurry, Queensland. Its founder, Reverend John Flynn, appears on the Australian $20 note. Arthur Affleck, the first pilot, was an employee of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (now known as Qantas), which leased a four-passenger DH50A, as well as staff and equipment, to the fledgling operation. Dr Kenyon St Vincent Welch was the service’s first doctor. The inaugural flight took off from Cloncurry on 17 May 1928. In the first year, the two men flew more than 28,000 kilometres to treat 255 patients.
In 2015, the RFDS had more than 290,000 emergency and primary healthcare patient contacts. Its life-saving medical chests are in 3500 locations across Australia.