Paralympics Australia has announced the launch of “Paralympic Stories” to provide an online history of the Movement in the country.
The organisation claims the launch is a milestone for their Australian Paralympic History Project, which was established in 2010.
The project is aimed at capturing and preserving the history of the Paralympic Movement in Australia, as well as finding ways to share the information in a relevant and accessible way.
Paralympics Australia chief executive Lynne Anderson said the Paralympic Stories initiative was the latest effort to ensure current and future generations could access the nation's sporting past.
The Paralympic Stories initiative is asserted to combine materials from a wide range of sources to chronicle the development of the disability sport movement in Australia.
This includes from the establishment of wheelchair sport at rehabilitation centres after the Second World War, as well as the first team to participate internationally in 1957.
The first Paralympic Games in 1960 and the following editions are also covered.
“Paralympics Australia is extremely proud of Paralympic Stories,” Anderson said.
“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.
“Paralympic sport has changed the lives of so many Australians and Paralympic Stories tells the stories of the people and events that made that happen.
“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 women were perfectly capable of out-performing men on the world stage.
“Or Kevin Coombs, one of Australia’s greatest wheelchair basketball players.
“Kevin represented Australia on a British passport at the 1960 Paralympic Games, because as the first Indigenous Australian to represent Australia at a Paralympic or Olympic Games, it would be another seven years before he was recognised as an Australian citizen.
“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.”
Paralympics Australia states Paralympic Stories will feature images and audio interviews.
Memorabilia from Paralympic Games and key events will also be included.
The content comes as a result of a collaboration between Paralympics Australia and partners, including the University of Queensland.
The National Library of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Clearinghouse for Sport and the National Sports Museum have also helped with the project.
Paralympics Australia has also credited the early relationship with Wikimedia Australia as being key, with nearly 1,000 Wikipedia articles about Australian Para sport viewed as an important knowledge base.
Anderson thanked the contributors and volunteers, including project facilitator Tony Naar and University of Queensland lead researchers Murray Phillips and Gary Osmond, for their support to the initiative.
“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,” said Anderson.
“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.”
Australian athletes, officials and support staff were also thanked for their contributions.
The project received support from an Australian Research Council Industry Linkage Scheme grant.
Paralympic Stories is asserted to be structured so visitors can explore specific events or individuals.
They can also choose to focus on a number of themes.