In April 1961, a meeting was held poolside of the hydrotherapy pool at the Prince Alfred Hospital in which the Paraplegic Association of NSW was formed (later known as Paraquad). A Committee was formed and later that year it was decided to establish the Paraplegic Sports Club of NSW. The first Paraplegic Sports Club meeting was held at Bruce Thwaite’s jewellery shop in Concord in October 1961. It became known as the Para Sports Club – and was also affectionately referred to as ‘The Club’ – a term that some older members continue to use today. The companionship and friendship shared amongst the members during this period was very important to the development and growth of the Association. ‘This support also helped the members to improve and achieve in their chosen sporting areas.

In the early days the focus was on sport as rehabilitation and offering members a healthy lifestyle, mentoring, peer support and social activities. Initially, the concept of developing a local sporting organisation that would support elite wheelchair athletes as well as newcomers to wheelchair sport as it does today, was not present.

There has always been excellent people working within the Association – both paid and unpaid – who have given body and soul to their commitment. Volunteers have had a major impact on how the organisation has grown and developed and they continue to play a strong role today. Without the vision and dedication of many of the volunteers – including the trailblazers and legends – as well as the professional staff who were first employed in 1981, it would not be the vibrant, well-recognised operation that exists today and is seen by many as the leading disability sports organisation in Australia.

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To inquire about purchasing your own copy of the history publication “Pushing Strong” by Jeanette Smith please contact us on 02 9809 5260 or via email.


Wheelchair Sports NSW (WS NSW), formed in 1961, is a charitable organisation with a mission to enrich the lives of people living with a disability through participation in sport.

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