We opted for a day of very little driving so decided to see the sights in Alice Springs itself.
First stop was the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Base. The RFDS originated in Cloncurry, Queensland in 1932 and was set up in Alice Springs in 1939. It now operates from over 20 bases all over Australia except in the north part of the Northern Territory; they for some reason have their own organisation. The museum explained how the service runs now and also the history of it and the development of the pedal operated radio that was used in the early days as the stations at that time didn’t have electricity, and batteries were no good.
After that the School of the Air… the biggest classroom in the world! That is 1.5 million square kilometres. The school started in 1951, using the same radios used by the RFDS. This is the first school of the air and the classes until 2003 were done using shortwave radio. Since 2003, the school uses satellites and the internet technology. At the school, there are three television studios where the teachers, and any guests, teach the classes. The kids have their course work and any supplies that they need posted out every couple of weeks. The kids also come in 4 times a year for a week of centrally based learning and things such as sports days.
In the afternoon we went to the Olive Pink Botanical Gardens for a picnic lunch which was very unexciting except we found a Western Bowerbird, and there was a big sandpit with trucks in it that the boys happily spent hours playing in, while Tom went off for a haircut and I blogged in the sunshine.