1960

The first Royal North Shore Paraplegic Games

The first Royal North Shore Paraplegic Games

"Now's the time ... let's set up some games."

Dr John Grant on the role of sport competition in rehabilitation

Dr John Grant on the role of sport competition in rehabilitation

In the Table Tennis tent at the first RNSH Paraplegic Games

In the Table Tennis tent at the first RNSH Paraplegic Games

Basketball concluded the first RNSH Paraplegic Games

Basketball concluded the first RNSH Paraplegic Games
Our stories

The 1960 National Paraplegic Games were the selection event for the 1960 Paralympics, to be held in Rome in September that year.

The first National Paraplegic Games

The first National Paraplegic Games

All dressed up and off to the Nationals

All dressed up and off to the Nationals

Archery was a premier event

Archery was a premier event

Every Australian state was represented

Every Australian state was represented

National Games medals and tickets to Rome for Cunningham and Coombs

National Games medals and tickets to Rome for Cunningham and Coombs

Gary hooper: how lucky I am to be here

Gary Hooper talks about ‘making it’ as a Paralympic athlete

Gary Hooper talks about ‘making it’ as a Paralympic athlete

"We'd sit on street corners and sell raffle tickets"

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the public awareness benefits of early fundraising activities

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the public awareness benefits of early fundraising activities

Kalgoorlie crowd watches Paras push around police cadets

Kalgoorlie crowd watches Paras push around police cadets

"It's a great feeling when you win, or even just put on a great performance"

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the joys of team sport

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the joys of team sport
Paralympian Bruno Moretti discussing sport as rehabilitation and ability to play multiple sports in the early Paralympics

Bruno Moretti discusses sport as rehabilitation and being required to play multiple sports

Bruno Moretti discusses sport as rehabilitation and being required to play multiple sports
Our stories

Australia sent a team of twelve athletes and four support staff to the first Paralympic Games.

Australia at the Rome Summer Paralympics 1960

Australia at the Rome Summer Paralympics 1960
Our stories

List of the members of the 1960 Australian Paralympic Team for the Rome Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1960 Rome Paralympics Australian Team list

1960 Rome Paralympics Australian Team list
1960 Paralympian Kevin Coombes reflects on being the first Indigenous Paralympian.

Kevin Coombs discusses traveling to Rome

Kevin Coombs discusses traveling to Rome
Members of the 1960 Australian Paralympic Team pose with an entertainer at their hotel in Singapore en route to the first Paralympic Games in Rome, September 1960. At this time, it was seen as beneficial for people with paraplegia to spend time standing and even to learn to 'walk' using crutches and wearing calipers, so Daphne Ceeney (later Hilton) in the back row and Frank Ponta (seated, far left) are out of their wheelchairs in this photo.

Australian team en route to 1960 Rome Paralympics

Australian team en route to 1960 Rome Paralympics

They carried us on and off aeroplanes

Listen to Bill Mather-Brown praising the hard work of the team support staff

Listen to Bill Mather-Brown praising the hard work of the team support staff
Members of the first Australian Paralympic Team, in Rome in 1960, disembark from a plane at Rome airport at the end of their journey to the Games. The team contained a mixture of athletes with polio and those with spinal cord injuries. In general, those with paraplegia were lifted from the plane and those with polio used the steps. Team physiotherapist

Australian team athletes disembark from plane Rome Summer Paralympics

Australian team athletes disembark from plane Rome Summer Paralympics

Going up ten stairs with a wheelchair

Gary Hooper chats about the unusual and barely accessible accommodation at the 1960 Rome Summer Paralympics

Gary Hooper chats about the unusual and barely accessible accommodation at the 1960 Rome Summer Paralympics
The Athletes' Village for the 1960 Paralympic Games in Rome consisted of apartments above the ground, with no lift access. Although ramps were installed over the stairs, most athletes required assistance to enter and leave the buildings as the ramps were so steep.

Athletes’ Village Rome Summer Paralympics

Athletes’ Village Rome Summer Paralympics

Paralympic defined: Parallel, paralysed or paraplegic?

Bill Mather-Brown discusses the origin of the term “Paralympic”

Bill Mather-Brown discusses the origin of the term “Paralympic”
Australian team marches Tokyo Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Australian team Rome Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Australian team Rome Summer Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Pocket from Kevin Coombs’ 1960 team blazer

Pocket from Kevin Coombs’ 1960 team blazer
1960 Paralympian Kevin Coombes reflects on being the first Indigenous Paralympian.

Kevin Coombs on being the first Indigenous Paralympian

Kevin Coombs on being the first Indigenous Paralympian
Paralympian Daphne Ceeney takes pride in being Australia’s first female Paralympian.

Daphne Ceeney on her pride in being Australia’s first female Paralympian

Daphne Ceeney on her pride in being Australia’s first female Paralympian
Paralympian Chris O’Brian on the best thing about being a Paralympian.

Chris O’Brien discuss best thing about being a Paralympian

Chris O’Brien discuss best thing about being a Paralympian
The venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic GamesThe venue for the swimming events at the 1960 Rome Paralympic Games

Swimming venue Rome Summer Paralympics

Swimming venue Rome Summer Paralympics

Bill Mather-Brown and the dubious officiating

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the basketball officials at the 1960 Rome Paralympics

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the basketball officials at the 1960 Rome Paralympics

Gary Hooper: "Come on, you can do better than that."

Listen to Gary Hooper talk about the many events he participated in

Listen to Gary Hooper talk about the many events he participated in

"We couldn't race in Rome, they reckon it was too dangerous."

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the events he competed in during 1960 Rome Paralympics

Bill Mather-Brown talks about the events he competed in during 1960 Rome Paralympics
Members of the first Australian Paralympic Team, in Rome in 1960, relax at the archery venue. Seated on the far left is Daphne Ceeney (later Hilton), Australia's only female competitor in Rome and the first Australian female Paralympic gold medallist. Behind her, also looking at the camera, is Gary Hooper.

Australian Team members 1960 Rome Paralympics

Australian Team members 1960 Rome Paralympics

Australia’s first Paralympic gold medal

Australia’s first Paralympic gold medal

Bill Mather-Brown: "We used to call him 'Spag'"

Bill Mather-Brown talks about amusing experiences involving Bruno Moretti at the 1960 Rome Paralympics

Bill Mather-Brown talks about amusing experiences involving Bruno Moretti at the 1960 Rome Paralympics
1960 Paralympian Gary Hooper comments on the role of pioneering Paralympians in inspiring later generations of athletes.

Gary Hooper on the place in history of the first Paralympians

Gary Hooper on the place in history of the first Paralympians
Australian athletes are helped onto a bus with a rear wheelchair hoist during the 1960 Paralympic Games in Rome. Waiting at right is Ross Sutton, Australia's first Paralympic gold medallist.

Australian Team Members boarding bus 1960 Rome Paralympics

Australian Team Members boarding bus 1960 Rome Paralympics
Paralympian Bill Mather-Brown reflects on changes in the Games since 1960

Bill Mather-Brown reflects on changes in the Games since 1960

Bill Mather-Brown reflects on changes in the Games since 1960
Paralympian Bruno Moretti discussing sport as rehabilitation and ability to play multiple sports in the early Paralympics

Bruno Moretti discusses wooden wheelchairs and technical changes over time

Bruno Moretti discusses wooden wheelchairs and technical changes over time
Seven members of the 1960 Australian Paralympic Team - the first - at the reunion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Games. The team members and their partners were guests of honour at the 2010 Australian Paralympian of the Year Awards. All but one of the pictured athletes were accompanied by their long-term wives or husbands. Of the 12 athletes who attended the Games, eight were still alive 50 years later (Frank Ponta was too ill to attend). L to R (athlete and partner): Chris O'Brien with his sister; Daphne Hilton (nee Ceeney) and husband Frank; Gary Hooper and wife Jan; APC President Greg Hartung; Bruno Moretti and wife Scarlett; Kevin Coombs and wife Linda; Kevin Cunningham and wife Maureen; and Bill Mather-Brown and wife Nadine.

Australian team 50-year reunion Rome Summer Paralympics

Australian team 50-year reunion Rome Summer Paralympics

I hope they appreciate us, and what we've done for the future

Listen to how Frank Ponta would like to be remembered

Listen to how Frank Ponta would like to be remembered
1962
Our stories

The 1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games were held in Perth, the then home of disability sport in Australia, with the Royal Perth Hospital being a key driving force.

Australia at the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australia at the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Our stories

List of the members of the 1962 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Team for the Perth Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Australian Team list

1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Australian Team list

Flyer for the 1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Flyer for the 1962 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian team marches in the opening ceremony

Australian team marches in the opening ceremony

English team marches in the opening ceremony

English team marches in the opening ceremony

Group photo – all the competitors from all nations

Group photo – all the competitors from all nations

The official program

The official program

It all started in the rehab hospitals

It all started in the rehab hospitals

A friendly Games

A friendly Games

But Australia came to compete

But Australia came to compete

Swimmers wait for their chance

Swimmers wait for their chance

Season ticket – official pass

Season ticket – official pass

Rocking their Australian caps

Rocking their Australian caps

Aiming for another medal

Aiming for another medal

Trophy for the most successful team

Trophy for the most successful team
1964

"Tony would cut up an old rubber tyre and tie it round their legs"

Elizabeth Edmondson on training in an able-bodied squad at 14

Elizabeth Edmondson on training in an able-bodied squad at 14
Our stories

Fifteen Australian athletes and eight support staff travelled to Tokyo for the 1964 Summer Paralympics.

Australia at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics

Australia at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympics
Our stories

List of the members of the 1964 Australian Paralympic Team for the Tokyo Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

 

1964 Tokyo Paralympics Australian team list

1964 Tokyo Paralympics Australian team list
A segment of the Australian Team as it marches around the track during the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games on Oda Field in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo

Australian Team Marches Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony

Australian Team Marches Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony
The band plays during the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Band plays Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Band plays Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Teams lined up Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony

Teams lined up Tokyo Paralympics Opening Ceremony
Empress Michiko and Crown Prince Akihito (left) meet representatives of the participating teams during the opening ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games on Oda Field in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. At the right of the picture is Ludwig Guttmann, the founder of the Paralympic movement.

Crown Prince and Princess meet teams Tokyo Paralympics

Crown Prince and Princess meet teams Tokyo Paralympics
Japanese Crown Prince Akihito and Empress Michiko meet representatives of the Australian Team during the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games at Oda Field in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. Just behind the Empress is Ludwig Guttmann, the founder of the Paralympic movement.

Crown Prince Akihito meets teams Tokyo Paralympics

Crown Prince Akihito meets teams Tokyo Paralympics
Members of the Australian Paralympic Team watch activities during the Opening Ceremony of the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games at Oda Field in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo.

Australian Team watches Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony

Australian Team watches Tokyo Games Opening Ceremony

The “Games for the paralysed”

The “Games for the paralysed”

Daphne Ceeney archery Tokyo Paralympics

Daphne Ceeney archery Tokyo Paralympics
Australian Paralympic Team Member Roy Fowler aims at the target during an archery event at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games, watched by Team Manager and remedial gymnast 'Johnno' Johnston (standing at far right). Fowler won a bronze medal with Lionel Cousins and John Martin in the men's St Nicholas Round team event.

Roy Fowler archery Tokyo Paralympics

Roy Fowler archery Tokyo Paralympics
Australian Paralympic Team Member Michael Dow lifts during the weighlifting competition. Dow won a silver medal in the Men's Featherweight with a lift of 95 kg. Australian Team members look on, with athletes from other countries. Team Manager 'Johnno' Johnston is wearing glasses and a white cap. Spectator facilities were very limited at some venues, including weightlifting.

Michael Dow Weightlifting Tokyo Paralympics

Michael Dow Weightlifting Tokyo Paralympics
Members of the Australian Team at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games watch the action at the athletics from the infield. L to R: 'Johnno' Johnston (Team Manager and remedial gymnast) standing, Frank Ponta, Elizabeth Edmondson, Unknown, Bill Mather-Brown (looking at camera).

Australian Team Members at athletics Tokyo Paralympics

Australian Team Members at athletics Tokyo Paralympics
A wheelchair track race during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Wheelchair race Tokyo Paralympics

Wheelchair race Tokyo Paralympics
Athletes chat on the infield at the athletics track during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Athletes chat Tokyo Paralympics

Athletes chat Tokyo Paralympics

Meal ticket – Tokyo Paralympics

Meal ticket – Tokyo Paralympics

The dining experience Tokyo Paralympics

The dining experience Tokyo Paralympics

"The food, the games, everything was absolutely marvellous."

Daphne Hilton praises the running of the 1964 Tokyo Games

Daphne Hilton praises the running of the 1964 Tokyo Games
An unknown competitor prepares to throw the discus during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games. At that time, throwers competed in their day chairs, and relied on the assistance of able-bodied team officials to hold the chair stable while they threw. Athletes now use custom made throwing frames that are tethered to the ground.

Discus Tokyo Paralympics

Discus Tokyo Paralympics
Athletes warm up for the men's javelin event at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games. On the left is an unknown Australian athlete and next to him is Gary Hooper, another member of the Australian Team.

Javelin warm-up Tokyo Paralympics

Javelin warm-up Tokyo Paralympics
Wheelchair fencing action between two unknown athletes during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Spectator facilities were virtually non-existent at some of the Games venues, including fencing, one of the original Paralympic sports.

Wheelchair fencing Tokyo Paralympics

Wheelchair fencing Tokyo Paralympics

"I could see a gold medal staring at me"

Frank Ponta on his fencing silver medal in Tokyo 1964

Frank Ponta on his fencing silver medal in Tokyo 1964
A player from an unknown team shoots a free throw in a wheelchair basketball game against the USA at the Yoyogi Indoor Stadium during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Basketball free throw Tokyo Summer Paralympics

Basketball free throw Tokyo Summer Paralympics
Scene at the swimming venue during a race during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Swimming venue Tokyo Paralympics

Swimming venue Tokyo Paralympics
Daphne Ceeney (later Hilton) - left - who won the silver medal, congratulates 14 year old Elizabeth Edmondson, who won gold in a world record time in the 50m Freestyle Prone Complete Class 5 swimming event at the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Edmondson remained the youngest Australian Paralympic gold medallist until 2012. Australian Team official Kevin Betts pushes Daphne Ceeney and 'Johnno' Johnston pushes Elizabeth Edmondson.

Ceeney and Edmondson handshake Tokyo Paralympics

Ceeney and Edmondson handshake Tokyo Paralympics

"Just get in there, do your job, and go home again"

Listen to Elizabeth Edmondson’s experience of the 1964 Tokyo Games

Listen to Elizabeth Edmondson’s experience of the 1964 Tokyo Games
A telegram from the 1964 Australian Paralympic Team head of delegation, George Bedbrook, to the family os swimmer Elizabeth Edmondson, informing them of her success at the Games and plans for the return trip to Australia. Edmondson and Bedbrook were both from Western Australia. At 14, Edmondson was the youngest Australian Paralympic gold medallist until 2012. Telegram provided by Elizabeth Edmondson from her personal scrapbook.

A telegram from Dr Bedbrook

A telegram from Dr Bedbrook
Action during a wheelchair basketball game between two unknown teams outside the Yoyogi Indoor Stadium during the 1964 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Wheelchair basketball Tokyo Paralympics

Wheelchair basketball Tokyo Paralympics

1964 Team Members passing on wisdom to 2012 athletes

1964 Team Members passing on wisdom to 2012 athletes
1966
Our stories

The 1966 National Paraplegic Games were held in Brisbane. They were the selection event for the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games.

The fourth National Paraplegic Games

The fourth National Paraplegic Games

Release the pigeons!

Release the pigeons!

Literally traveling ‘cattle class’

Literally traveling ‘cattle class’

Unloading the athletes

Unloading the athletes

Testing the waters at the new Carina pool

Testing the waters at the new Carina pool

Paying attention to the pre-event briefing

Paying attention to the pre-event briefing

Championship basketball in a suburban street

Championship basketball in a suburban street
Our stories

The Australian team at the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games consisted of eleven athletes and five assistants (escorts).

Australia at the 1966 Kingston Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australia at the 1966 Kingston Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Our stories

List of the members of the 1966 Australian Team for the Kingston Commonwealth Paraplegic Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1966 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Team

1966 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Team
Athletes and offiicials from the competing nations watch the opening ceremony of the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Kingston, Jamaica. At the right of the photo are nine of the Australian athletes, with some team officials offering them drinks.Photo donated from the personal collection of Bill Mather-Brown, one of Australia's original Paralympians.

Opening Ceremony 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Opening Ceremony 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Athletes and offiicials from the competing nations watch the opening ceremony of the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Kingston, Jamaica. At the right of the photo are nine of the Australian athletes, with some team officials offering them drinks.Photo donated from the personal collection of Bill Mather-Brown, one of Australia's original Paralympians.

Athletes watch the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games opening ceremony

Athletes watch the 1966 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games opening ceremony

Dartchery victors – by two points

Dartchery victors – by two points

The basketball (most of) team photo

The basketball (most of) team photo
Australia plays England in the wheelchair basketball final at the Second Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Australians L to R in the dark singlets: Jimmy Newton, Kevin Cunningham, John Martin, Bill Mather-Brown (tip-off) and Bruno Moretti. English player in tip-off is Cyril Thomas/Thompson. England won the game and the gold medal.Photo donated from the personal collection of Bill Mather-Brown, one of Australia's original Paralympians.

Tip-off in the basketball final vs England

Tip-off in the basketball final vs England
Australia plays England in the wheelchair basketball final at the Second Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Visible Australians L to R in the dark singlets: John Martin, Bill Mather-Brown, Garry Moore and Kevin Cunningham. England won the game and the gold medal.Photo donated from the personal collection of Bill Mather-Brown, one of Australia's original Paralympians.

All eyes on the ball – basketball final vs England

All eyes on the ball – basketball final vs England
1968
Our stories

Australia sent nearly triple the number of competitors it sent to Tokyo, with a team of thirty-two athletes and eighteen support staff.

Australia at the 1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics

Australia at the 1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics
Our stories

List of the members of the 1968 Australian Paralympic Team for the Tel Aviv Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics Australian Team list

1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics Australian Team list

The medicos said "altitude is not for you"

Kevin Coombs on why the 1968 Paralympics were in Israel, not Mexico

Kevin Coombs on why the 1968 Paralympics were in Israel, not Mexico

"If I pay my way, can I come?"

Libby Kosmala on being overlooked despite winning nationals

Libby Kosmala on being overlooked despite winning nationals
Jeff Simmonds is carried onto the Qantas plane by Jack McCafferty and a Qantas staff member as the 1968 Australian Paralympic Team departs Australia for the Tel Aviv Paralympic Games

Jeff Simmonds boards for Tel Aviv Paralympics

Jeff Simmonds boards for Tel Aviv Paralympics
The 1968 Australian Paralympic Team en route to the 1968 Games at the Hotel Intercontinental, Bangkok

Australian Team stopover, Tel Aviv Summer Paralympics

Australian Team stopover, Tel Aviv Summer Paralympics
The cover of ther program for the 1968 Tel Aviv Paralympic Games shows that, at the time, the use of the word

Program cover for the Tel Aviv Paralympics

Program cover for the Tel Aviv Paralympics

Australian Team Tel Aviv Opening Ceremony

Australian Team Tel Aviv Opening Ceremony

"You could hear the guns going off in the distance"

Kevin Cunningham talks about the scary situations in Israel 1968

Kevin Cunningham talks about the scary situations in Israel 1968

"They'll just shoot you Kevin, you don't know what they're doing"

Gary Hooper reflects on the security situation in Tel Aviv, 1968

Gary Hooper reflects on the security situation in Tel Aviv, 1968

Jeff Simmonds receives a Paralympic silver medal in Tel Aviv

Jeff Simmonds receives a Paralympic silver medal in Tel Aviv

Winning gold is my proudest moment

Bruno Moretti on the intricacies of the wheelchair slalom

Bruno Moretti on the intricacies of the wheelchair slalom

Tony South receives 1968 gold medal

Tony South receives 1968 gold medal

Everytime you went away you'd learn from everyone

Frank Ponta talks about learning from other teams

Frank Ponta talks about learning from other teams