The 6 men and 2 women had removed their jackets, and now stood up showing off their Care Flight uniforms, and a round of applause began around the whole hall. Dad stood up again, and waited for the applause to stop, “Mr Shire President and Councillors, I wish to offer to you, the service of the Care Flight Organisation, with two Care Flight aircraft, ready for immediate service, as soon as you can provide some space for their operations” Dad said, and the Care Flight team also sat down, as applause started once again.
When the applause finally died down the female councillor spoke, “Mr Shire President, I wish to make a motion, that the Esperance Shire Council, approve the offer from Care Flight Australia and the Murchison
Pastoral Investments, right here and now”, “I second the motion” another councillor said straight after, “This is a highly unusual way of dealing with council business, but first let me ask the community gathered here today, who are in support of this motion, please raise your hands” the Shire President asked.
From where I could see, every single hand in the hall was in the air, including the 8 councillors at the head table on the stage. “Very well, since all Councillors did the same, the motion is carried, and we welcome into our community the Care Flight Australia organisation” the shire president said, which brought a huge cheer from everyone in the hall.
I motioned for Dad, and the Care Flight team to follow me, and Declan decided to remain where he was, to remain anonymous, and we walked up the aisle to the front of the hall, where Dad and I shook the hands of the Shire President and councillors.
A photographer appeared and asked for a group photo of the two Mr Silverton’s, the Care Flight Executives and the Shire President and Councillors, which I reluctantly agreed to, this was followed by a photo of the Care Flight Crews and their executives, with the Shire President and Dad.
Once this was done, the meeting was called to order again, so it could be officially closed, and when I saw Dad look at his phone, then look toward the back of the hall, he nodded his head, before leaning in towards me.
“Declan is at your vehicle ready to escape from this crowd, when you are ready” Dad said to me, and I nodded my head in understanding, and the Shire President guessed that we were wanting to leave, and escorted us through a side door, where we sprinted to the vehicle and took off out of town, towards the airport.
During the trip, Dad informed me that the Care Flight team would be staying at Howick till everything is sorted at the airport, and they would be flying back to the estate soon after them. Once I had dropped Declan and Dad off at the airport, I headed for my home, taking some back roads to make sure that I wasn’t being followed.
The following morning, while having breakfast with my cousins and sons, my mobile rang, and it was Dad calling. “Hi Dad, what’s up?” I said as I continued to eat, “Hi son, have you checked the online news this morning, we are the main story nation-wide” Dad said to me, and I stood up and retrieved my laptop computer from the study, before returning to the dining table.
“No, I haven’t, but I am booting up my laptop as we speak, I will call back once I have had a look at it” I said, “Ok son, bye” Dad said and he ended the call, and I logged onto the computer and clicked on Google, to see the latest news feeds.
“RFDS refuses offer for multi-million- dollar deal, to establish a RFDS base in Esperance” was the headlines that I first saw. “An offer by Murchison Pastoral Investments, to purchase two fully equipped emergency planes, and establish a base in Esperance, was declined by the RFDS executive board in Perth, just a day before the mine disaster in Kalgoorlie.
The two new planes, were already in Kalgoorlie, along with two flight crews, readily available assist with transporting critically injured patients to Perth, which the RFDS accepted. Mr Bryce Silverton, along with his son - Kyle, the current Managing Director of Murchison Pastoral, attended a community meeting in Esperance last night, where they informed the Shire Council and its residents of the refused offer.
What caught everyone present at the meeting by surprise, was that Murchison Pastoral Investments had arranged for another organisation to take up the offer, if the RFDS declined the offer. Two Sydney based executives, and two flight crews from Care Flight Australia were also at this meeting, to jointly announce that they would be accepting the offer to establish a base in Esperance if approved by the council.
The motion to accept Care Flight into the community, was unanimously carried by the community and the Shire Council, and work would begin right away to get them settled into the community. It was the Care Flight Crew who assisted with the transporting of patients to Perth, so it looks like that there are now two organisations, assisting with remote and regional emergency flight care”
The photo of the Care Flight team, with Dad and the Shire President was used for the news article, which I was very pleased with, as it kept the media guessing what I look like, I just hoped that no one in the meeting took photos of me and posted them on social media.
Three weeks later, the new Care Flight base at Esperance was officially operational, with an Operations manager, and two administrations staff, plus the two flight crews. As well as the three new administration staff, there was two maintenance staff and two local nurses, had been offered part time work, to assist with the flights, in case any of the medical crew fell sick.
Dad had purchased two lots of blocks of newly built villa’s. With one block containing 8 two-bedroom villa’s, the other has 6 two – bedroom Villa’s, to accommodate the Care Flight staff & crew, and with both blocks being next to each other, sections of the adjoining fence were removed, to allow, easier interaction with the rest of the staff and crew.
What was originally planned for additional parking at the back of the block with the least amount of Villa’s, was re-modelled to have an outdoor recreational space, wish a small pool, spa, pool and a BBQ area, with shade cloth over the pools, and lots of seating and some landscape gardening.
The two front entrances were also changed to have large gates, with electronic controls, for added security, along with the boundary fence, already being 2 metres high, with a ½ metre high garrison fence added to the top, so now the who property was fully enclosed. At the front of the property, just two guest parking bays on each side, were also modified, so there are only two parking bays in total, and the remaining space was made into a garden with large screen planting for added privacy.
Dad also provided two 8 seater vans, for the fight crews to quickly jump in and drive to the airport, in case of an emergency, and he also provided the Operations manager, with a vehicle for his use, to get to and from work each day.
Now that the Care Flight base was operational, things began to settle down to a routine again at Howick Estate and my farm, and I was enjoying spending a lot more time with my sons, with trips to Howick, to spend some time with Dad, Declan and the boys, when they were home on holidays.
All the stations, that consisted 7.5 million acres of Western Desert Pastoral Co, eventually sold, as one package to an Australian Pastoral company in Queensland, and the two roadhouses on the Eyre Highway had sold a few months earlier, which brought a large amount of money into the company, of which 50% of it was distributed out to the shareholders, much to their shock, but Dad, Chris and I decided that it was the best thing to do, so we could continue to concentrate on the remaining company, and the 11.9 million acres of land that they control.
Copyright April 2018 Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved