The old Birdsville clinic is now a museum. For my first 5 years in Birdsville, this was where we went to see the Flying Doctor on his monthly visits. It was in this room that I found out I was pregnant with my son, who’s now 15. Despite the excellent care provided by the nurses and the RFDS, health services were sometimes a long way away. For my 20-week ultrasound we drove 700km north to Mount Isa. To give birth, we drove 1200km to Adelaide. They kicked me out of town 4 weeks earlier, in case of complications. Standard practice. At the Womens and Childrens hospital in Adelaide, the obstetrician told me that my son was the wrong way up, which was strange because he’d been the right way up just before we left Birdsville. I’m sure it was all the bumping on the way down the Birdsville Track.
The new clinic opened in 2005. It still looks flash and clean. The doctor’s based in Charleville. Even now, it takes him a few hours to reach Birdsville in an emergency. Birdsville usually has one or two permanent nurses. They get very tired during tourist season, April – September.