1970
Our stories

Australia and England fought it out again to be recognised as the premier nation at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in 1970.

Australia at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australia at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Our stories

List of the members of the 1970 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Team for the Edinburgh Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1970 Edinburgh Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Team

1970 Edinburgh Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Games Team

Waiting to enter the stadium on a ‘perfect’ Edinburgh day

Waiting to enter the stadium on a ‘perfect’ Edinburgh day

Australia and Jamaica during the Edinburgh opening ceremony

Australia and Jamaica during the Edinburgh opening ceremony

Tony South in a rare Aussie action photo from the 1970 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Tony South in a rare Aussie action photo from the 1970 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Medals in five sports and other personal Edinburgh highlights

Hear Libby Kosmala talk about her experiences at the 1970 Commonwealth Paralympic Games

Hear Libby Kosmala talk about her experiences at the 1970 Commonwealth Paralympic Games

‘Rough proof” of another Tony South medal in Edinburgh

‘Rough proof” of another Tony South medal in Edinburgh

Bruno Moretti: Competitor to coach

Listen to Bruno Moretti discuss his Edinburgh selection woes and successful transition to coaching

Listen to Bruno Moretti discuss his Edinburgh selection woes and successful transition to coaching

"I got to know a lot of disabled people from around Australian very well"

Libby Kosmala discusses her successes and social life at Edinburgh 1970

Libby Kosmala discusses her successes and social life at Edinburgh 1970
1972
Our stories

The 1972 Games saw the start of a move away from ‘all-rounders’ to athletes specialising in events. Australia finished eleventh on the medal table.

Australia at the Heidelberg Summer Paralympics 1972

Australia at the Heidelberg Summer Paralympics 1972
Our stories

List of the members of the 1972 Australian Paralympic Team for the Heidelberg Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1972 Summer Paralympics Australian Team List

1972 Summer Paralympics Australian Team List

When smoking cigars on the plane was part of the experience.

When smoking cigars on the plane was part of the experience.

The athletes were still being carried from the planes

The athletes were still being carried from the planes

Games’ founder classifying athletes

Games’ founder classifying athletes

Honouring the beginning of the Games

Honouring the beginning of the Games

Australian Wheelpast Heidelberg Summer Paralympics

Australian Wheelpast Heidelberg Summer Paralympics

Staying dry during the opening ceremony

Staying dry during the opening ceremony

Carpark or archery field?

Carpark or archery field?

On target for another medal

On target for another medal

Alan Conn added to his Archery medal tally

Alan Conn added to his Archery medal tally

A clever solution to getting athletes into buses

A clever solution to getting athletes into buses

Pushing up a ramp easier than being carried

Pushing up a ramp easier than being carried

Getting the start just right

Getting the start just right

Ponta in full flight – warming up?

Ponta in full flight – warming up?

Frank Ponta's 1972 nomination woes may have cost him a medal

Hear Frank Ponta talk about missing out on the pentathlon at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics

Hear Frank Ponta talk about missing out on the pentathlon at the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics

Competing also means waiting

Competing also means waiting

Giddy gets silver

Giddy gets silver

Precision javelin – where accuracy matters more than distance

Precision javelin – where accuracy matters more than distance

GALLERY: How to stabilise a thrower’s chair

GALLERY: How to stabilise a thrower’s chair

Lithgow boy makes good

Lithgow boy makes good

Elaine Schreiber full of concentration

Elaine Schreiber full of concentration

The ‘father’ of Paralympic sport in Australia

The ‘father’ of Paralympic sport in Australia

Darts with a bow and arrows

Darts with a bow and arrows

Testing chair skills in the slalom

Testing chair skills in the slalom

Supporting their teammates

Supporting their teammates

The 1972 Paralympic swimming venue – a lot like your local aquatic centre

The 1972 Paralympic swimming venue – a lot like your local aquatic centre

Eric Boulter won Australia’s only swimming gold medal

Eric Boulter won Australia’s only swimming gold medal

Pauline English was Australia’s youngest in Heidelberg

Pauline English was Australia’s youngest in Heidelberg

Pauline English with one of her three bronze medals

Pauline English with one of her three bronze medals

Terry Mason weightlifting

Terry Mason weightlifting

Lawn bowls was an indoor event in Heidelberg

Lawn bowls was an indoor event in Heidelberg

Table Tennis is one of the original Paralympic sports

Table Tennis is one of the original Paralympic sports

Ray Barrett waits for onsite repairs

Ray Barrett waits for onsite repairs

Up against the best in the Basketball

Up against the best in the Basketball

Coombs shoots a free throw

Coombs shoots a free throw

GALLERY: Tracey Freeman was the Australian star of the 1972 Paralympics

GALLERY: Tracey Freeman was the Australian star of the 1972 Paralympics
1974
Our stories

In contrast to Perth, Kingston and Edinburgh, the 1974 Commonwealth Paraplegic Games in New Zealand were hosted by a different city than the able-bodied Games.

Australia at the Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games 1974

Australia at the Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games 1974
Our stories

List of the members of the 1974 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Team for the Dunedin Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1974 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Team Dunedin

1974 Australian Commonwealth Paraplegic Team Dunedin
From the cool and windy Caledonian ground to the indoor warmth of the RSA club rooms, the acquired concentration of the snooker players. This semi-final match between Noel Simmons of NSW and Jimmy Gibson of Northern Ireland proved to be an easy win for Gibson and Noel had to be content with a bronze medal.

Noel Simmons wins bronze in Snooker, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Noel Simmons wins bronze in Snooker, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
The Aussie sprint stars were favoured to take out the slalom events as well. Ray Barrett had won the class 2 sprint but was disqualified in the slalom. This particular obstacle course tested chair handling skill and light manoeuvres more than sheer speed. John Martin wizzes around the ramp platform. Terry Giddy whizzed too hard and came off the side and had to do it again much to his annoyance. Gwen Milbourne was a certainty beaten in the class 2 women’s slalom, when she came to grief in a big way on the ramp. Slalom is an obstacle race against the stop watch with seconds being added as penalties for hitting markers.

Australian Athletic Team, Slalom, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian Athletic Team, Slalom, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Medical examination of competitors is necessary to establish the classes in which they will compete. Sir Ludwig Guttman is doing the examinations here. He was the founder of the para sporting movement which had small beginnings in Stoke Mandeville near London in 1948 and has since spread throughout the world.

Sir Ludwig Guttman performing medical examinations on athletes

Sir Ludwig Guttman performing medical examinations on athletes
Russel Morrison, a class 4 spina bifida from SA in the backstroke, in which he broke the commonwealth record.

Russell Morrison breaks Backstroke record, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Russell Morrison breaks Backstroke record, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Here is Russel Morrison surging up the pool in his 50m freestyle which he won in record time. Well done congratulations from coach Kirkbride.

Russell Morrison wins 50m freestyle, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Russell Morrison wins 50m freestyle, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Pauline English, also still a high school student has a good win in the 50m freestyle class 4. She also had a fine win in the 150m individual medley.

Pauline English, Swimming, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Pauline English, Swimming, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Vic Renaldson set a new record in weightlifting

Vic Renaldson set a new record in weightlifting

Vic Renaldson set a new record in weightlifting
The men’s relay team of Martin, Patterson, McIntyre and Giddy, complete the Australian clean sweep of the men’s track events, amid much jubilation from the Australian camp.

Australian Men’s Athletics Team, Wheelchair Relay, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian Men’s Athletics Team, Wheelchair Relay, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
The bowls competition was held nearby in Logan Park and also proved successful for Australia. Ruth Twait winning the gold in the singles and the silver in the pairs with Don Bennett showed here in his chair specially fitted with rollers which enable wheelchair players to bowl in able bodied clubs.

Ruth Twait and Don Bennett, Lawn Bowling, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Ruth Twait and Don Bennett, Lawn Bowling, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Australian at the swimming event

Australian at the swimming event

Australian at the swimming event
Kevin Bourden is one of the five South Australian team members who along with five officials and several supporters boarded Adelaide airport. Dr Sorbe Adams and escort Ian Wardrop decide to take Kevin up the steps in his chair in preference to carrying him bodily.

Kevin Borden carried onto the aircraft

Kevin Borden carried onto the aircraft
John Lisle also competed in the small bore rifle shooting together with SA's Kevin Bourdan. This was held in the Saint Kilda indoor range and demanded the utmost concentration throughout the match. Kevin is set up on a special table connected to his wheelchair with a telescope attached to enable him to see where he hits the tiny targets 25m away. Graham Soreby-Adams admires the target place with which Kevin won the gold medal, with the excellent score of 395.26 out of a possible 400. It was a proud moment for Kevin when he received his medal at one of the meticulously conducted presentation ceremonies organised by the NZ army.

Kevin Borden, Shooting, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Kevin Borden, Shooting, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Apart from the special events for quads, there is no class distinction in archery and it is surprisingly to find that Australia’s top archers are mostly high level injuries. John Lisle from Victoria is a class 2 competitor and completed a trio of silver medals for Australia in archery, although he had trouble shivering in the icy breezes.

John Lisle, Archery, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

John Lisle, Archery, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
In an adjacent hall in the students union the fencers were doing battle. Robert Jorgan was Australia only representative while the English and Scottish competitors were too experiences. The chairs are anchored at the correct distance and the competitors wired to the electronic score board. When a scoring hit is made, a green light comes on and a point is registers against the person hit. Robert is satisfied with his performance and puts it down to experience. The same hall was used later in the week for weight lifting.

Robert Jorgan, Fencing, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Robert Jorgan, Fencing, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Jeff Harrison in the class 1b discus. Jeff is a quadriplegic from SA. In the same class is Ree from Jamaica showing a good deal more strength and mobility. Morris Ireland from QLD in the class 2 discus event. The Kenyan's look more at home in the cold that Eric Russell and Dennia Kay, huddled in blankets. Dennis Kay from SA in class 3. Because of the lower level of his injury he can exert much more rotation in his trunk than those in the higher classes.

Australian Team, Discus, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian Team, Discus, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Here is the amazing Terry Giddy, powering his way to a new world record of 20.1 seconds in the class 4 100m. A record which was not allowed because of wind assistance.

Terry Giddy, 100M Dash, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Terry Giddy, 100M Dash, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
After a night in a warm bed, the paras are up early the next morning boarding the specially converted buses taking them to their events. The red uniformed hostesses are very much able bodied but the driver willingly gives assistance anyhow. These buses have been taken off their normal runs for games. All the seats were removed, the floors levelled and safety bars installed. They hold 16 chairs.

Buses modified to ferry the wheelchair athletes

Buses modified to ferry the wheelchair athletes
Here is the final of the 200m, starting from the other side of the arena. The wet track makes it a long hard push, but Australia scores 1, 2, 3, with Terry, Bob and Hugh showing their strength and giving warning of the Australian mens dominance in the remaining track events.

Australian Team, 200m Dash, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian Team, 200m Dash, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Australia wins gold medals from Elaine Shriver and Noel Simmons.

Elaine Shriver and Noel Simmons, Precision Javelin, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Elaine Shriver and Noel Simmons, Precision Javelin, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Australia has 50 competitors and 22 escorts and is the second largest team. Veterean Kevin Bettts leads the team as manager. There are 23 from NSW, 10 from QLD, 5 from SA, 6 from VIC and 6 from WA.

Australian Contingent, Opening Ceremony Wheel Pass, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australian Contingent, Opening Ceremony Wheel Pass, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Australia’s women sprint relay team line up to receive their silver medals, a fitting reward for their planning and practicing with their coach Ian Wardrop. Team of Sherry Ireland, Jean Stokes, Barb Worley and Gwen Milbourne used the moving changeover to gain precious seconds but couldn’t catch the Jamaicans.

Australia Women’s Team, Wheelchair Relay, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australia Women’s Team, Wheelchair Relay, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
Getting the paras on and off aeroplanes is one of the more strenuous duties of the escorts. Fork lifts and elevating platforms can help, but with a large group, carrying up and down the steps seems to be the most efficient method.

Athletes boarding and alighting the plane

Athletes boarding and alighting the plane
The star of women’s field events from Australia was Tracey Freeman from QLD competing in class 1b. She set new records in discus, javelin and shot, a tremendous performance.

Tracey Freeman sets new records in discus, javelin and shot put.

Tracey Freeman sets new records in discus, javelin and shot put.
Australians in Table Tennis Event during the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australians Table Tennis Team at the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Australians Table Tennis Team at the Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
The closing ceremony at dusk on the lawns outside the union building made a fitting end to these very friendly games. The New Zealand hosts had done everything in their power to strengthen the bonds of friendship between commonwealth paraplegic athletes. Their efforts were not in vain.

Closing Ceremony, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games

Closing Ceremony, Dunedin Commonwealth Paraplegic Games
1976
Our stories

196 athletes from 16 countries competed in the first winter Paralympics in Örnsköldsvik. Australia’s only participant was Ron Finneran.

Australia at the Örnsköldsvik Winter Paralympics 1976

Australia at the Örnsköldsvik Winter Paralympics 1976

"By all means put your name down."

Ron Finneran talks about the very informal selection process for the 1976 winter Paralympics.

Ron Finneran talks about the very informal selection process for the 1976 winter Paralympics.

Ron Finneran carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony of the first winter Paralympics

Ron Finneran carried the Australian flag at the opening ceremony of the first winter Paralympics

"I was told: 'You're not going anywhere boyo.'"

Ron Finneran on his response when told he couldn’t compete in Ornskoldsvik.

Ron Finneran on his response when told he couldn’t compete in Ornskoldsvik.
Our stories

Forty-eight Australian athletes competed at the 1976 Paralympics, including amputee and vision impaired athletes for the first time.

Australia at the Toronto Summer Paralympics 1976

Australia at the Toronto Summer Paralympics 1976
Our stories

List of the members of the 1976 Australian Paralympic Team for the Toronto Games, with links to the members’ Wikipedia articles.

1976 Summer Paralympics Australian Team List

1976 Summer Paralympics Australian Team List

Time for a group photo before a long journey

Time for a group photo before a long journey

The wait of the teams is an opening ceremony tradition

The wait of the teams is an opening ceremony tradition

Pocket from Pauline English’s 1976 team blazer

Pocket from Pauline English’s 1976 team blazer

Ludwig Guttmann speaks at the opening ceremony

Ludwig Guttmann speaks at the opening ceremony

Before she was a shooting legend, Libby did other sports

Before she was a shooting legend, Libby did other sports

Even his lucky hat didn’t help Roy in ’76

Even his lucky hat didn’t help Roy in ’76

Contemplation of the task ahead for Jago Mikulic

Contemplation of the task ahead for Jago Mikulic

Jago runs blind towards a coach 60m away

Jago runs blind towards a coach 60m away

GALLERY: Amputee technology in 1976

GALLERY: Amputee technology in 1976

Tracey Freeman was Australia’s sprint queen in Toronto

Tracey Freeman was Australia’s sprint queen in Toronto

But Freeman really cleaned up in the field events

But Freeman really cleaned up in the field events

Martin and Oliver get set in the blue ribbon wheelchair sprint

Martin and Oliver get set in the blue ribbon wheelchair sprint

Peter Marsh closes on the line and a bronze medal in the 60m

Peter Marsh closes on the line and a bronze medal in the 60m

Eric Russell puts everything into his gold medal performance

Eric Russell puts everything into his gold medal performance

Murray Todd seems pleased with his medal

Murray Todd seems pleased with his medal

An efficient athlete transport system is a good start

An efficient athlete transport system is a good start

Pondering a gold medal strategy in lawn bowls?

Pondering a gold medal strategy in lawn bowls?

Another gold medal for the lawn bowls team

Another gold medal for the lawn bowls team

Chair skills in the wheelchair slalom

Chair skills in the wheelchair slalom

GALLERY: Wheelchair technology in 1976

GALLERY: Wheelchair technology in 1976

Shooting is the ultimate sport of precision – and therefore equipment

Shooting is the ultimate sport of precision – and therefore equipment

Contemplating another medal performance

Contemplating another medal performance

Ray Letheby serves one up

Ray Letheby serves one up

Terry Mason lifts for bronze

Terry Mason lifts for bronze

Congratulations for Vic on a new world record and a gold medal

Congratulations for Vic on a new world record and a gold medal