The Smith of Dunesk Mission – Beltana (SA)
AIM heritage is especially strong within the Beltana Area. This includes the fact that nearly all of the great names linked with the formation and foundation of the Australian Inland Mission were directly associated with work within areas covered today by the John Flynn Patrol.
The first Patrol work commenced with the labours of the Rev. Robert Mitchell from 1894 as the first ‘Smith of Dunesk Missioner’ based out of the Port Augusta congregation. He was later followed by the Rev. Frank Rolland, who came up with the idea of complementing the padres work (at Beltana) with that of the deaconess nurse (at Oodnadatta). Deaconess Alice Main was the first appointee there. John Flynn himself served in this Patrol as ‘Smith of Dunesk Missioner’ and Bruce Plowman (‘The Man from Oodnadatta’) the very first AIM Padre was based in this Patrol and out of Beltana. The Smith of Dunesk Mission Church building has been the venue for worship services since its opening in 1895 as a Christian Church building. PIM currently owns the building and conducts occasional services there.
On ANZAC Day, PIM helps the local community in Beltana run a dawn service.
David and Gae McDonald diligently ministered in the John Flynn Patrol for around four years. At the end of 2016 they transferred to Patrol Ministry in NW NSW. The John Flynn Patrol is currently vacant.