I learned today that Daphne Hilton has died at the age of 82.
Daphne was the first Australian woman to compete at the Paralympic Games. Her first Games were in Rome in 1960.
The Australian Paralympic Wikipedia Project has authored a page about Daphne. There is an interview with Daphne and her daughter Rachael that forms part of the Australian Paralympic Committee’s oral history project (recorded in 2013) curated at the National Library of Australia.
The interview is available online here.
There is also a 2010 interview available too.
Daphne’s life in sport included opening the Paralympic Village in 2000 at the Sydney Games. In 2012, she donated her Paralympic medals and three team blazers to the Australian Paralympic Committee.
A Canberra Times article reporting her donation provides information about her Paralympic career. In three Paralympic Games, Daphne competed in five sports (swimming, athletics, fencing, table tennis and archery) and won fourteen medals.
With Daphne’s death, Libby Kosmala provides the next link with Australian Paralympic history. Her first Games was in 1972 and she will be competing this year in Rio (her twelfth Paralympics).
Discovering Daphne’s story has been a wonderful antidote to some of the ethical issues surrounding the Olympic Movement in 2016.
A girl injured in a riding accident at the age of 17 was able, with the help of her community, to attend the Rome Paralympics and then have the love of sport to take her on a journey of half a century in and around sport.
Daphne (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Daphne and Greg Hartung (Canberra Times)
Daphne (Australian Paralympic Committee)
Fifty Year Reunion (Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0)