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Matron Nell Mills

She created strong adults from directionless
children and is now retired in England

Les and Martha Nixon took Nell in 1980.
Les and Martha Nixon took Nell (blue dress) in 1980.

In ten years, this indomitable lady gave a hundred children a rudder for life, turned them into strong and caring adults. She is now retired in London. MATRON NELL MILLS was the spinster lady at Tibooburra, inland Australia, who brought British culture and fine living to hostel children in the hot dusty outback, with a smile that melted resistence, and an iron-will that destroyed every enemy. In 1958, Miss Mills was placed at a children's hostel in a dusty remote town with no running water, no fresh food, no electricity on hand or good roads to the city. Under her charge she had thirty mischievous station children to bring up, as the Hostel put them close to the Public School in town. She opened up "FAR WEST CHILDREN'S HOSTEL" work which continues to this day. Dr. Huxtable from Broken Hill Flying Doctor brought her to town. Their first Church service there was chosen by her. We all sang ....

"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord, Or to defend His cause. Maintain the honour of His Word, The glory of His Cross."

RICHARD THOMPSON was one of those restless boys. He now manages the family property, Mt. Stuart nearby, and when he ran into Padre Les Nixon in Dec, 1996 outback, he promptly sang the praises of the woman who changed his life, and eagerly asked after her welfare. Mills nurtured Richard through normal boyhood days of irritating mischief, packed him off to High School and watched him take over the family station. He says he would have escaped the outback, except for Matron's steely determination.

When a parent came down with appendix, Mills drove the frightened children through sand hills and deserts to bring the parent to town. With a child with screaming temperature on her hands, she'd work through the days and nights of above century heat till the fever passed and the child returned to his own bed. The local postmaster send his children to Nell Mills, too. Five-year-old MAVIS KELLY instantly responded to Mills caring heart, grew strongly in the next ten years, took over the post office in town, built a fine business with her husband John and is now retired from a full life of bush survival and looks back to Nell Mills fine influence upon her. She says Mills was Christianity with it's sleeves rolled up.

GLAD BOWMAN is another product of the Mills loving touch. Gladys quietly admits she was a loss to humanity until Matron Mills entered her life and saved her from self-destruction. Nell was crowned QUEEN FOR A DAY when she flew back to Tibooburra with the Nixons in 1986. The day was bigger than the annual Picnic Races, with students bringing their offspring and quietly bragging; 'that's the lady I keep telling you about'. Been no one like her since.

Nell said: "All about I see, Nothing but His Grace for me."

A living faith sustained her always ... Remembered best of all were MILLS hostel church. Sing the songs; read the prayers; repeat the stories, memorise the verses, all from her old family Bible always at hand.

Outback Patrol salutes MATRON NELL MILLS, now nearly 80, retired in London, but always homesick for those unbelievably difficult days in the Australian outback. She's says, "It's always harder before it's easier" "I use God's mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil's strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God, and change them into men whose hearts' desire is obedience to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

* * * * * * *


Nell Mills at age 89 was dying. She wrote us a classically stoic letter thanking God for the Outback Patrol Mission, but she did not mail it.

Actually, it was about going to Heaven.

It was her 1961 Macedonian-call, "come-over-and-help-us" to remote Tibooburra, that started all of this. She inspired us to become outback missionaries and transfer our city evangelistic work to others. She never let us out of her sight, since the first time we first met in 1948. She felt, over the years, she had an inspirational part of what Outback Patrol became. We agreed that Romans 15:20 was to be our Mission Statement. And Matron Mills was our most ardent praying advocate.

She asked her brother Eddie to mail the letter when she died. It arrived on Jan 7th, 2010. Her Memorial Service was held at the Turbary Evangelical Church, Dorsett, Jan. 8th. Thus, we have two historic letters in our hands, the first and the last, 48-years apart. They could be part of our Acts #29.

The Memorial service proceeded on time and in order, even with the worst English blizzard in years blowing outside. The church was nearly full of devoted admirers, and the Pastor was able to deftly tell her story, and respectfully obey her wishes. She preferred to deflect all comments toward the dignity and honor of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ; that ye may stand in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel." Phil. 1:27

Just like Nell.

And so, because of Nell Mills, outback Australia has a strong continuing Christian presence which she mobilized in her day; to other towns too, too small for a church but too big to overlook.

Nell left the planet, but her memory and inspiration lingers on. That's the nature of the True Church; God doing His best work through holy people; and Nell was one of the most saintly of them all....

And we together, continue the vision, and the conquest.

And an Eminent Domain Almighty God alone, receives the Glory.

Click HERE for Nell Mill's Letter

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