Inspirational speaker Allana Corbin at yesterday’s Local Government Women’s Association State Conference at the Gympie Civic Centre.
Inspirational speaker Allana Corbin at yesterday’s Local Government Women’s Association State Conference at the Gympie Civic Centre. Renee Pilcher

ALGWA State Conference held

THE last thing Allana Corbin remembered before her plane hit the ground was the sound of the aircraft’s wings tearing through the trees.

Allana delivered an inspirational message which touched all those attending her presentation at yesterday’s Australian Local Government Women’s Association State Conference in Gympie.

A devastating crash in December 1990 left her one of only two survivors of a crew on a search and rescue mission for a missing small plane in rugged terrain outside of Camden.

From a very young age aviation had been Allana’s all encompassing passion but when, at 23 years old, she found herself fully conscious, trapped amid the wreckage of a search plane, her back broken, friends dead or dying around her, she thought her short life was over.

“I believed I was going to die out there,” she said. “I was only 23, I was thinking, well, that was quick. I had so many regrets.”

Fortunately, a helicopter picked up their beacon and within hours she was cut from the wreck and transported to hospital where her long journey to rehabilitation began.

Told she would never walk again, Allana told the doctor to “bugger off and leave me alone”.

“I was determined to walk again. I was amazed that they’d written me off.”

In traction for eight weeks after a spinal fusion and with no feeling below her knees, Allana realised it was going to take an enormous amount of effort if she was ever going to climb out of her wheel chair.

“But I realised that climbing a mountain only took one step at a time.” She also discovered the value of setting goals.

After two shaky steps one day, her aim the next day would be three shaky steps.

Signing herself out of hospital she started taking control of her own rehabilitation.

“Twelve months to the day, I stepped out of my wheelchair and never looked back,” she said.

With help from various experts along the way, Allana’s emotional healing began too.

“I really embraced the idea that I would strive to be the best I could be – I had an opportunity to redesign myself.”

In 1997, after gaining her commercial helicopter licence, Allana became the first woman to circumnavigate the mainland of Australia in a helicopter.

Gympie Times


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