National Library records great Paralympic stories

The National Library of Australia has given new voice to one of this country’s iconic groups of sportsmen and women – Australia’s Paralympians.

The Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) has signed an agreement with the National Library of Australia to record oral histories of key figures behind the growth of Paralympic sport in Australia.

This follows the establishment in 2009 of the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies to ensure that historic, sporting and business information related to the Paralympic movement is preserved.

‘The Paralympic Games celebrates its 50th anniversary in September this year, and in that era, many Australians have played influential roles in all aspects of the development of Paralympic sport,’ APC Chief Executive Jason Hellwig said.

‘Through our partnership with the National Library of Australia, these compelling stories will be captured and will provide a narrative to the development of the Paralympic movement.

‘The growth of Paralympic sport in Australia over the past 50 years parallels developments in health care and disability rights, as well as revealing the value of sport to change people’s lives.’

He said the National Library’s internationally acclaimed Oral History program was the perfect fit for the project.

Curator of Oral History and Folklore at the National Library, Kevin Bradley, said: ‘We are in danger of losing the memories and histories of our pioneering Paralympians; the Paralympic movement’s history has been largely undocumented and the National Library is delighted to partner with the Australian Paralympic Committee to collect, preserve and provide online access to the stories of the remarkable people involved.’

To hear some of the oral histories of Australia’s first Paralympians, go to http://www.nla.gov.au/digicoll/APConline.html

Media Contact:
Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, 02 6262 1704 or 0401 226 697
shopman@nla.gov.au