Mt Wilga continued the sport tradition on the east coast

While the origins of sport for people with disabilities in Australia began at Shenton Park in Perth, other hospitals and rehabilitation centres in Australia followed their lead. In Sydney, spinal patients were ultimately cared for at the Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Centre, the Royal North Shore Hospital and Prince Henry Hospital. However, Mt Wilga was the first and played the biggest role in sport.

The Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Centre commenced operations out of the stately home built by Sydney identity, Henry Marcus Clark. By 1957 Mt Wilga was the most modern and best equipped rehabilitation centre in Australia, catering for day patients, as well as providing full residential care.

Sport was an integral part of life at Mt Wilga and the key identities were physiotherapist Eileen Perrottet, remedial gymnast Kevin Betts and surgeon Dr John Grant. By all accounts, Perrottet initiated the sporting activities and Betts, who subsequently became a significant figure in disability sport in New South Wales, Australia and internationally for three decades, was instrumental in promoting sporting opportunities and competitions for patients and residents.

Mt Wilga Rehabilitation Centre was the first spinal unit on the east coast. It incorporated sport as a core element of rehabilitation.