Dr Clyde Fenton delivers yet another baby – March 7 1932

Dr Clyde Fenton delivers yet another baby – March 7 1932, 2006, oil on linen, 44.5 x 53.5 cm.

This is Dr Clyde Fenton. In the early 1930s he brought his own broken down old plane and made himself the first flying doctor in the NT. He attended Xavier College, and although he did graduate as a medical doctor in 1925 from Melbourne University, he was a self-taught pilot. A disaster to the Civil Aviation Department, but a hero to the Tiwi people, as he was their only hope for medical assistance at the time.

Despite having a free medical clinic, most Tiwis won’t get help until the absolute last minute. In Milikapiti there are 2 nurses and a doctor flies in on Mondays. Just about everyone walks around with something bandaged.

This is Doctor Clyde Fenton. In the early 1930s he brought his own broken down old plane and made himself the first flying doctor in the NT. According to his autobiography, Clyde Fenton’s sister died in China in 1936 while being visited by their mother. On the day he heard, Fenton flew from Katherine to Darwin, welded an extra fuel tank to his plane, put another fuel tank in the passenger seat, and flew from Darwin to China across the Timor Sea during cyclone season, while Japan were fighting with China, without any landing permits or visas, and without telling anyone or bringing any one, and anyone who complained was some kind of “blasted dim-witted bureaucrat”.

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