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Outback Patrol Salutes the
Rev. Len Daniels from London

A Britisher who helped change the Outback. He came from England, served and died in Australia. A true pioneer.

This courageous adventurer accepted a placement by Sydney's Bishop S.J. Kirby in 1923 to remote Wilcannia (400 miles west of Sydney, in the far-west of New South Wales) to become its parish Rector. His jazzy piano playing was a sign that 'the-padre-is-here' and the glint in his eye told parishioners that 'worship is worth attending.'

Daniels struggled with his 1918 T Model Ford through sand-hill deserts to cover his huge parish the size of England itself, then Lord Castrol donated a 1926 De-Havilland Cirrus Moth for his mission to the Australian people.

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Len Daniels with his flying instructor.
England 1926.
(Double click image to see full size)

He'd taught school in London in the first decade of this century. Then earned his Arts Degree at London University in 1913. W.W.I sent him to North India and Egypt as a DH6 airman. Then to Salisbury Theological College, and Farnham Castle in 1920 for ordination as an Anglican Clergymen by the Bishop of Winchester, - he then embarked for Australia as a bachelor, bush Parson in 1922.

Adventure of the most challenging sort began the moment he entered this wilderness with the first aeroplane based in outback of Australia.

He tied it to a tree during dust storms, floated it across a swollen river on a barge and created a hangar for it at Wilcnania from shipping crates, but mostly put it to work to carry the ill-and-suffering to hospital, return new mothers to remote stations with their infant, drop supplies to the lost and dying and bring the Good News of the Christian Gospel to the anxious and lonely. Flying in summer was a human torture, but winter, sheer pleasure. He quoted G. Studderd Kennedy often:

"I see all history pass by, and through it all still shines that face, the Christ Face, like a star..." and "This silent air, Is pulsing with the presence of His Grace."

And Elizabeth Barrett Browning when he flew on cold mornings: "I smiled to think God's peace flowed round our incompleteness, Round our restlessness, His rest."

It helped him through unforgettable days of agony and despair.

Outback Patrol valued his wise counsel in the 1960's and '70's during retirement and were delighted when he'd join a flying patrol team back to his old haunts again.

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    Len Daniels 1968, Outback Patrol flew
    him to Wilcania for the centenary of the
    Anglican Church.
    (Double click image to see larger size)

Compass and Radio were sheer luxuries to this pioneer who truly flew by the seat of his pants, and by a Shell road-map. Bush characters would accost him in dusty townships to remind him, 'you baptised me fifty years ago', and - 'our Mum and Dad stuck together because your marriage service clinched it for them'. The "Royal-Flying-Doctor-Service" founder Presbyterian Rev.John Flynn sought Daniel's advice about desert flying in the 1920's which spawned that magnificent service recognised by His Majesty King George VI, and covered the inland by 1940.

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(Double click image to see larger size)

Planes replaced camels as transport. A magnificent vision poured from the heart of Len Daniels in those days, and Australia's outback will always be grateful for this plucky Englishman and his mission to help people in difficult places. "Behold, I will do a new thing; I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

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(Double click image to see larger size)
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