Australia is a disgracefully underdeveloped and poorly planned nation, the result of hugely neglectful politics over a long period of time.

Because no thought has ever been given to balanced development, most of our population is crammed into capital cities where the price of housing is exorbitant, roads are clogged and suburban rail systems are primitive.

80% of our land mass is sparsely populated and poorly serviced by internet, hospitals, water, railways, roads and ports.

Add to this the fact that we are the driest continent on the planet and lament that we have done nothing to drought proof the nation, a neglect which is utterly irresponsible.

Our land has the capacity to make us the food bowl of the world, but few Australians are willing invest in agriculture.

There is a massive shortage of affordable housing because we have deliberately encouraged investors to build inappropriate apartments that they keep empty so as to provide them with a huge tax loss.

I could go on with a litany of examples of bad government, but I don’t want to foster any depression in your soul.

Let’s look for a solution.

We need to find and foster nation builders who will take the considerable risks necessary to create a great country.

A century ago, we did have one.

His name was John Flynn and you will remember him in legend as Flynn of the Inland.

He was a country boy from a poor family in a small community near Bendigo, but he went on to build a couple of dozen bush hospitals in the remotest parts of our continent. Then he invented the Pedal Radio, established the Flying Doctor Service and created the School of the Air.

Lesser known is his partnership with John Bradfield (builder of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Story Bridge in Brisbane) in designing and promoting a visionary plan to water the Inland. It was a genuine goer, but politicians ran away from it in fear of its enormity and both Flynn and Bradfield died before it could gain traction.

Lamentably, Australia has not produced another Flynn. Indeed, we go out of the way to discourage the possibility.

So, as a positive contribution towards remedying this tragedy, I have written a book about John Flynn which I have called ‘The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes’ and I am grateful to Tim Costello for writing the Foreword. Its aim is to find young readers who will decide that they want to become the next John Flynn.

I launched it at John Flynn Place in Cloncurry on 8 April with the help of Don and Chris McDonald. This was followed by a Brisbane Launch on 18 April at ‘Miegunyah’, an historic house from the Flynn era where Tim Fairfax and Greg Cary did the honours.

I am delighted to tell you that the first print run has sold out. But, more are on the way and will arrive next week. Order it on my website or through this link provided and I will post it to you with a bill for 30 dollars to cover cost and postage.

There can be no doubt that Australia has a lot of potential pioneers like Flynn of the Inland who we have not had the chance to show their worth. We have weighed them down with massive university debts, denied them jobs and put the dream of owning a home out of their reach. Absolutely negative politics which is shameful.

Can we all go out of our way to locate them and help them find their feet. Old guys like me must spend time finding such talent,  then foster it, invest in them, share their risks and make great things happen with their modern skills and visionary ideals.

We can share with them and foster the great attributes that Flynn had and are the pathway to greatness.

Firstly, he was a creator of great partnerships. His finest were with Hudson Fysh of Qantas, Hugh Victor McKay of the Sunshine Harvester Company and cattleman Sidney Kidman.

Then, he made a point of always employing people with greater education and skills than he had and he let them create their own legends. A prime example was the great flying doctor Alan Vickers and the communications genius Alfred Traeger.

Additionally, he made powerful friends on all sides of politics, notably Hughes, Scullin, Fadden and Chifley. He made them part of his team in overcoming enormous political hurdles.

So, don’t just buy one book, buy two. Give the second one to a young man or woman whom you know and who you reckon has exceptional talent. Encourage them to read it and then allocate prime time to help them realise their dreams.

It will be the experience of our lives.

Make it happen.

Yours at Large.

Everald Compton

If you are new to my articles and wish to be advised by email of new articles posted, simply register your email address as indicated opposite or on the Everald@Large page of this website. Copies of the book about John Flynn – “The Man on the Twenty Dollar Notes” are available here.


  1. Rod Foster

    I think your “I could go on with a litany of examples of bad government, but I don’t want to foster any depression in your soul.” tells it all. You talk about bad government and I would agree yet people get what they deserve – a fantastic universal lesson. Throughout the planet the populace want more and more given to them. You say we have denied young people because “There is a massive shortage of affordable housing because we have deliberately encouraged investors to build inappropriate apartments that they keep empty so as to provide them with a huge tax loss.” which I think is missing the point. Young people don’t want “affordable” housing they want all the bells and whistles. I have first hand knowledge of this. What the “older” generation would accept young people won’t. I have gorgeous property at a very affordable price yet no one will come here and why, because it’s a low socio-economic area and there are few jobs. They no longer want to work for themselves. I agree that leaders are few and far between and the present political parties are hopeless particularly the Labor Party of which I was once a member but never again. The society falls over itself attempting to be politically correct to all and everyone pays dearly for the nonsense of laws and regulation that plague any construction, change in any societal so-called norm etc, etc, You talk of “drought proofing” this country. I am sceptical of the words “drought proofing” but it’s clear much more water storage could be built. If a leader emerges from the morass of the present society he/she will be very quickly cut down so he/she will fit the package. How long it will be before there’s total deterioration of society who knows but it will come and there will be a new one start up. There was a song in the 2nd W/W “The White Cliffs of Dover” which had the words “there’ll be peace ever after” – oh well, one day.

  2. Heather Milton

    Brilliant idea to do Gilbert River with dams down to the Murray Darling. We could have a new large fishing industry, tourism on the waterways/dams. Most of our Mango crop bought by California his year. We are buying from Chile. If our produce is worlds best, non gmo non synthetic people will pay premium price. Russia now looking for non gmo food, their population 180 million. I’ve always said Medicinal Cannabis (non hothouse) could equal or better any mining boom we have had. Canada is buying more and more of our land/ports/cannabis crops much with their Super Funds…..why aren’t we doing the same ?????

  3. Geoff Blogg

    Everald your comments are first class and to the point as usual. The time has come to invest in our young and do everything possible for them to reach their true potential. Only then may we see a real challenger to the far sightedness and high ideals of Flynn Of The Inland


    Geoff Blogg

  4. Terry Bowring


    Still looking at a N -S water transfer canal it seems difficult to get money required for infrastructure unless there is guaranteed use for water on completion .

    Expanding agriculture is still the most logical option but a lot of resistance to have Asians part owners of land or related infrastructure


    Terry Bowring

  5. Peter Hanson

    Everald this is as per your usual great articles and logical discussion on issues we should all be more involved with and demand better vision and performance of our politicians before giving our vote to them. Thankyou again for giving us your wisdom and views on subjects important to our future.

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