The Australian Paralympic History Project

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The 2016 Summer Paralympics have given me a great opportunity to keep up with the Australian Paralympic History Project.

The Project has been running since 2010. The aim of the project is “to capture, manage and preserve the history of the Paralympic movement in Australia in a way that is relevant, accessible and places the Paralympic movement within its broader social context”. In the last six years:

  • 50 volunteer editors have created and update Paralympic content.
  • There have been regular workshops to support editors and engage new editors.
  • 1000 articles have appeared.

There is a detailed account of the project here.

News of Rio is shared through a daily update of the Australia at the 2016 Summer Paralympics page in Wkipedia.

Photo Credit

Christine Dawes 2012 Summer Paralympics (Australian Paralympic Committee, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Vale Daphne

220px-Nla.int-Daphne_HiltonI 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.

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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.

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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.

Vale.

Seven of the 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 except one were accompanied by their long-term wives of 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) with husband Frank, Gary Hooper with wife Jan, APC President Greg Hartung (standing in dinner suit), Bruno Moretti with wife Scarlett, Kevin Coombs with wife Linda, Kevin Cunningham with wife Maureen, and Bill Mather-Brown with wife Nadine.
Seven of the members of the 1960 Australian Paralympic Team 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 except one were accompanied by their long-term wives of 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) with husband Frank, Gary Hooper with wife Jan, APC President Greg Hartung (standing in dinner suit), Bruno Moretti with wife Scarlett, Kevin Coombs with wife Linda, Kevin Cunningham with wife Maureen, and Bill Mather-Brown with wife Nadine.

Photo Credits

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)

HOPAU Update: 11 November

This week Tony Naar produced an update for his colleagues at the the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) on the The History of the Paralympics in Australia project  in Wikiversity.

He noted that “one element of the project is the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia products to ‘crowd source’ articles about the Paralympic Movement in Australia” which can then feed into the history of the Movement being written by Murray Phillips.

Tony reports that this has involved the creation of a project The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia in Wikiversity. The Wikiversity site is a living record of the project which can be updated by anyone at any time. You can sign up to join the discussion or can ask to receive regular updates. There is a project blog too (coordinated by Leigh Blackall). The idea is to create a record of the project and its development which can be used by anyone to develop their own project.

Tony adds:

  • Since we started this part of the project – about three months ago – project contributors have created more than 350 new Wikipedia articles relating to the Paralympic movement in Australia.
  • This includes an article about every Australian Paralympic medallist.
  • Most of these articles are known as “stubs”. That is, they are very brief articles that need to be expanded.
  • The article about Tim Matthews is an example of a stub about an Australian Paralympic athlete.
  • Expanding the stubs is one of the next steps in the project. This is already happening, and the article about Elizabeth Edmondson is an example of an expanded, more comprehensive article.
  • Expanding articles is a lot of work, as information in articles must be verifiable and references to sources are expected.
  • Photographs also help, and another aspect of the project is to scan and upload images under a Creative Commons licence which can be used in articles and in the history project more generally.
  •  These include images to which the APC has the rights, but which have no other commercial value to the APC.
  • These are uploaded into Wikimedia Commons – a media sharing database. So far, we have uploaded 94 images, mostly from the 1996 Paralympic Games. We are currently scanning images from the 1992 Games and more from 1996 and these will be uploaded in coming weeks.

In addition, Tony writes:

“Within the Wiki community, we are promoting the project by seeking recognition for the articles that are being created. One way of doing this is to create an interesting “hook” about an article and apply to have the hook included on the home page of Wikipedia in the “Did you know…” (DYK) section. This is a sought after achievement within the Wikipedia community and we have been successful with 10 DYKs  so far. The latest is a DYK about 1996 basketball gold medallist and 2004 Gliders coach Gerry Hewson.

Laura Hale – a member of the University of Canberra team which works with us on this project – has written a very interesting account of the Paralympic DYKs, including the page view stats for each article.

The athlete profile pages on the APC’s website have always been the most popular pages. Articles about athletes on Wikipedia have the potential to increase this exposure significantly.

Laura is working to have one of our articles accepted as a featured article on the Wikipedia main page. That is a high achievement within the Wikipedia community and requires a comprehensive article, fully referenced and supported by good images, about a notable person or event.

We are currently considering ways to increase the number of experienced Wikipedians who are working on Paralympic articles. One suggestion would also incorporate a Wikipedian creating articles about Australian medallists during the London Games.

To help create the Wikipedia articles, we are working to build a pool of editors with an interest in Paralympic sport. To that end, we have held training days recently in Perth and Brisbane and we now have well over a dozen people, either from the Paralympic community, or from the Wikipedia community, who are editing and contributing to articles. These include Paralympians such as Elizabeth Edmondson and Peter Marsh, friends and partners of Paralympians and people who have just somehow gotten involved.

In the near future, we are looking to do something a bit unique for Wikipedia – to add embedded video and audio into Paralympic articles and also to record the subjects of articles reading the article about themself. Sources of audio and video will include the National Library’s Paralympic oral history project and interviews conducted by Shaun Giles with the oral history interview subjects, as well as other video footage to which the APC has the rights.”

Photo Credits

Elizabeth Edmondson

Louise Sauvage

Peter Martin