On 20 April 1958, the Tiger Moth plane that 21 y.o. Ross Sutton was flying crashed in a paddock. It was said that Sutton was in love with a young woman in the region and decided to deliver a letter to her from the plane. After he dropped it, he realised that it was not weighted and could land anywhere, so he doubled the plane back to try to catch it, stalled and crashed. Sutton was taken to Armidale and New England Hospital with little chance of surviving. He was later flown to the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney where he was treated for chest and facial injuries and a broken spine. just over two years later, in September 1960, he became Australia’s first Paralympic gold medallist at the first Paralympic Games, in Rome.
Date: April 1958
Author: Image donated to the Australian Paralympic Committee by the family of Ross Sutton.