Sport

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Wilfred Thomas Prince

Wilfred Thomas Prince

Aboriginal Australian athlete, Wilfred Thomas Prince (b. 1960), was in a children’s home and foster care during his childhood.

Wilfred Thomas Prince was born at Cherbourg Aboriginal Mission in Queensland. He was hospitalised on numerous occasions and eventually diagnosed as having cerebral palsy when he was about 2 years of age.

At the age of 5, Wilfred was transferred to the Xavier Home for Crippled Children in Coorparoo, a suburb of Brisbane. The Home was in operation from 1949 to 1994 and catered for children with a variety of disabilities and from a variety of backgrounds.Wilfred, or Willie as he is affectionately known, has worked at the State Library of Queensland for 30 years.

He was the bearer of the Paralympic torch through Brisbane streets during the 2000 Paralympic Sydney Games, and was a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s batonbearer in 2018.

While living in the home, Wilfred was separated from family and culture. He was taken out on excursions by a foster family, and continues to maintain a connection with that family.

When he was 12, Wilfred was moved to a hostel, the Howard Crawford House in suburban New Farm, where he stayed for 5 years. He then transitioned into independent living.

From when he was in his early 20s, sport became an important part of Wilfred’s life. He tried wheelchair racing but was more successful at field events such as shotput and discus. He was a member of the Queensland Sporting Wheelies and represented Queensland 11 times and Australia in 2 competitions in New Zealand. Wilfred, or Willie as he is affectionately known, has worked at the State Library of Queensland for 30 years.

He was the bearer of the Paralympic torch through Brisbane streets during the 2000 Paralympic Sydney Games, and was a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s batonbearer in 2018.