Paralympics Australia is celebrating its rich history with the launch of a new online platform allowing unprecedented access to Australia’s greatest paralympic successes.
Paralympic Stories is part of the Australian Paralympic History Project which was set up in 2010 and combines an impressive range of sources including images, film, audio interviews and memorabilia capturing the development of the disability sport movement in Australia from the early 20th century.
Chief Executive Officer of Paralympics Australia is incredibly proud of the latest addition to the project as it shares the stories of people and events that have changed the lives of so many Australians and makes the content more widely accessible.
“The recognition and celebration of the history of the Paralympic movement in this country is central to our organisation and it is really exciting to bring this project to a wider audience today.
“It brings to a global audience the stories of icons of Paralympic sport that have previously been hard to find.
“Icons like Daphne Hilton who in 1960 single-handedly proved that women were perfectly capable of out-performing men on the world stage.
“Or Kevin Coombs, one of Australia’s greatest wheelchair basketball players.
“There are literally hundreds of incredible stories like these that we have compiled. We passionately believe they should be heard and we know there is an audience for them,” Ms Anderson says.
Founder of Inclusion Moves, a social policy change company helping people with disability participate in their communities and former Paralympian, Geoff Trappett OAM says Paralympic Stories shines a light on the sports and athletes who impacted his life.
“I and others were privileged to be raised within such a wonderful Paralympic community. It is fantastic to see so many stories coming to light from our rich history.
“As I have aged I have seen how much sport has influenced my life.
“Not simply by participating but through being able to meet strong-willed peers from whom I could learn how to navigate life as a confident disabled person.
“Everyone needs role models and there are plenty to choose from within these stories,” he says.
Paralympic Stories has been brought to life with the help of the University of Queensland, the National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Clearinghouse for Sport and the National Sports Museum.
Project Facilitator Tony Naar and University of Queensland Lead Researchers Murray Phillips and Gary Osmond helped coordinate the project alongside a number of volunteers.
“People connected with the Paralympic movement have been incredibly generous with their time and have contributed photos, film, scrapbooks, equipment, clothing and items of memorabilia to make the project come alive,” Ms Anderson says.
“Most extraordinary, however, has been the contribution of volunteers, many of them previously unconnected with the Paralympic movement, who have helped put it all together.”
Paralympic Stories makes up part of the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies which was established in 2009 to promote Paralympic research.
To read, watch and listen to Paralympic Stories visit https://paralympichistory.org.au/