BRAVE: Twelve year old Eileen Russell being tremendously brave while husband and wife dental duo, Mr and Mrs Kilby, clean her teeth, 1948.
BRAVE: Twelve year old Eileen Russell being tremendously brave while husband and wife dental duo, Mr and Mrs Kilby, clean her teeth, 1948. Contributed

Dentists ride the rails to fix the teeth of Queenslanders

BETWEEN 1929 and 1984, the Queensland Government provided regional communities with dental care by running specifically designed dentistry clinic carriages.

The train consisted of a waiting room, two dental studios and a private living section in one carriage, while the second carriage consisted of a storage area and a trailer compartment for a motor vehicle.

This meant that, in addition to treating patients on board, the train could pull into a regional station and then the dentists could travel further out to communities and schools beyond the railway line.

They even had portable dental chairs and drills that they could pack into the motor vehicle.

In 1948 a series of pictures was taken by the Commonwealth Department of Information that documented the work of dentist Mr J Kilby and his dental assistant and wife Mrs Kilby, and their life on board the dental train. In their living area, they had two bunks (it was the 1940s after all), a kitchen, pantry, shower, toilet and even a hanging garden.

In Australia in the 1940s it was estimated that by the age of 18 only one in 10 people had "good teeth”. Resources around the nation were poured into improving the dental health of children and in Queensland, outreach care included dental trucks and a flying dentist service to complement the dental trains. In one year, it was reported that Mr and Mrs Kilby treated more than 30,000 people from their railway dental surgery.



Mayor pushes Extinction Rebellion ban, condemns Sri

premium_icon Mayor pushes Extinction Rebellion ban, condemns Sri

Lord Mayor moves to ban Extinction Rebellion from council facilities

Residents urged to submit against New Hope

premium_icon Residents urged to submit against New Hope

Residents groups are calling out to those who opposed the DA.

It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

premium_icon It’s back! $1-a-week subscription offer returns

Our cheapest deal is back offering the best journalism and rewards