BUSHKids putting kids first for 80 years

DEDICATED: BUSHkids staff at their Emerald location.
DEDICATED: BUSHkids staff at their Emerald location. Meghan Kidd

FOR 80 years country kids have come first.

The Royal Queensland Bush Children's Health Scheme BUSHkids turns 80 this December, and for more than three generations of families in the Central Highlands, there is plenty of reason to celebrate.

"We opened our Emerald centre in 1996," general manager Carlton Meyn said.

"When the organisation re-defined how we could best serve our outback communities, but the local connections go further back."

Formed in 1935 in the aftermath of the Great Depression, BUSHkids aimed to bring kids from western Queensland to holiday homes on the coast for a break and much-needed medical care.

Once safely at the seaside, children would receive the kind of dental, medical and Allied Health care which was often lacking in their home communities in the west..

"What BUSHkids decided, during the 1990s, was that we could better do our work by bringing those crucial health services out to the bush instead," Mr Meyn said.

As the coastal homes were closed, new centres were opened, staffed by specialist allied health professionals, and today six BUSHkids centres support families.

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