Formed in 1960, the Association started as a public meeting of people with paraplegia and quadriplegia to advocate for their needs.
Originally formed as the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Welfare Association, the Spinal Injuries Association began to provide advocacy, information and informal peer support to people with spinal cord injuries.
Over the years, the Association has grown to become Queensland’s peak body for people with a spinal cord injury. Having been around for as long as we have, the Association is widely respected for its specialist knowledge of the needs of people with a spinal cord injury.
In the early days, we provided services such as advocacy, healthcare and lifestyle advice, and personal assistance. Our services continued to grow to include support networks for members, employment assistance and peer support to assist people and their families with the transition from the hospital environment to home and to the community.
We remain dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with a spinal cord injury by providing our members and clients the choice of a wide range of high quality, specialised services.
Milestones and achievements
The Spinal Injuries Association has seen enormous change and growth over the years, particularly since 2000. There have been many significant milestones and achievements during this time and we’re enormously proud of our accomplishments and excited about the ongoing development of our organisation.
2000 – 2001
- Educational and training package developed for doctors and health professionals on post-polio with Queensland Health.
- Association wins Community Award in the State Disability Access Week awards.
- Association wins the Community category of the Human Rights Medal and Awards in 2001.
- SEAT presenter Wayne Leo wins Energex Volunteer Hero Award in 2001.
- SEAT presenter Mark Farrell wins Suncorp Metway Young Queensland of the Year in 2001.
2002 – 2003
- Spinal Disability Resource Kit developed and distributed to the community and Association members.
- The Association goes online with its first website being developed.
- SEAT tours Central Queensland mining towns.
2004 – 2005
- The new Spinal Injuries Association North Queensland office in Townsville was officially opened on 3 August 2004. The building was made possible due to the outstanding financial and community support from North Queensland individuals and organisations. The new building offered members better facilities for meetings and training and is one of the most accessible buildings in Australia.
- Governor of Queensland Ms Quentin Bryce AO becomes Patron of the Association.
- SEAT visits its one millionth student.
- Peer Support program is introduced.
- Change of name from Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of Queensland to the Spinal Injuries Association.
- Association moves to its current Brisbane offices at Woolloongabba.
- SEAT releases “Consequences” DVD.
- Association supports member to win Lawson v Stadium Redevelopment Authority to secure equitable seating at Lang Park.
- Spinal Cord Injury Response (SCIR) funding introduced.
- Classic Wallabies become Ambassadors. Pictured above is Wallaby great and Spinal Injuries Association Ambassador Tim Horan with SEAT presenter Wayne Horkings and John Paul College students.
2006 – 2007
- Inaugural Classic Wallabies Luncheon.
- SEAT celebrates 20 years of sharing vital safety and injury prevention messages with Queensland school students.
- SEAT receives the Community Organisation Award during Disability Action Week.
- The Association’s advocacy helps secure $4.8 million State Government funding program for accessible taxi transport in regional Queensland.
- Peer Support Coordinator, Peter Harre, wins a finalist spot for the Pride of Australia Medal (pictured right).
- SEAT presenter Tim Felhaber wins Queensland Young Volunteer Award.
- SEAT releases “Nobody’s Bulletproof” DVD.
- Quality Assurance accreditation was gained to meet the Disability Services Act and funding requirements.
- Inaugural Gala Fundraising Dinner in Brisbane and Cruise for a Cause in Townsville launched during Spinal Injuries Awareness Week.
- Governor of Queensland Ms Penelope Wensley AO becomes Patron of the Association.
- Community Linking Program is introduced.
- Our new-look website is launched at www.spinal.com.au.
- SEAT at WORK launched.
- Peer Mentor program begins in Cairns and the Sunshine Coast.
- The Association holds its first ever Brisbane conference for members (pictured above).
- The Association celebrates its 50th anniversary.
- Patron and Governor of Qld Ms Penelope Wensley AO attends 50th anniversary celebrations on 9 March, 2010 (pictured).
- SEAT presenter Wayne Leo speaks to his 250,000th student.
- The Association is actively involved in:
- Blue Skies
- The State Disability Services Minister’s 10 year vision
- National Disability Strategy
- National Disability Alliance
- The National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Townsville hosts its inaugural ARTscape event, with local members and artists creating artwork ranging from paintings to dance pieces.
- The Association welcomes its new Chief Executive Officer, Bruce Milligan, in June.
- The Sunshine Coast Post Polio Network celebrated its 20th anniversary in July.
- Support for the NDIS increases, with a DisabiliTea event in Brisbane’s CBD (Association staff pictured, right).
- The inaugural Take My Seat event is held in Townsville during Disability Action Week in September.
- Spinal Injuries Association volunteers Wayne Leo and Scott Stidston are awarded Order of Australia Medals in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
- Celebrity chefs joined Association staff for ‘bake-offs’ in our Brisbane and Townsville offices, to show their support for a NDIS.
- Members of the Association are involved in a fashion collaboration with Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE students and model their designs at the students’ end of year fashion parade (pictured on the catwalk, left).
- SEAT celebrates its 25th anniversary and reaches an amazing milestone – inspiring more than 1.5 million children to stay safe!
- Spinal Injuries Association volunteers Des Ryan and Rod Walters are awarded Order of Australia Medals in the 2013 Australia Day Honours List.
- In May, DisabilityCare Australia (aka NDIS) is passed through Federal legislation. The scheme will be fully operational in Queensland by July 2019. Read more here.
- Spinal Injuries Association Ambassador and Wallaby great Bill Ross is awarded an Order of Australia Medal in The Queen’s Birthday 2013 Honours List, announced on Monday, 10 June 2013. Bill’s work with the Association’s Classic Wallabies Rugby Lunches has raised $600,000 for the Association in eight years.