The Australian Open Tennis Championships offers great support for people who have a disability
I am a big tennis fan and enjoyed the Australian Open this year. The quarterfinals were exciting, especially from my wheelchair seat with a great view in the shade. There is a special needs office to do bookings and there is good disability information on the Australian Open website. There are lifts, disabled toilets, accessible seats and pathways. A major redevelopment of Melbourne Park is underway with many improvements to come. Melbourne is the permanent home for this first Grand Slam tennis event of the year. It is a great venue.
Dave Jacka is aiming to be the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia
Dave Jacka always wanted to fly. But after a motorbike accident he went from being a 100% able bodied person to being left with only 6% of his physical function. Dave wanted to be more independent. He practiced doing things for himself. With his give it a go attitude, Dave became the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo in a powered hand glider. His goal is to showcase what people with disabilities can achieve. Dave's aim is now to be the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia. This is his story.
Living in a Sensory World is an exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. It uses objects to tell the story of how things have changed over time for people with a vision impairment. It has the first ball with bells in it that was bowled in a game of blind cricket in Melbourne. There are old machines that make raised dots which helped people who were blind to read. There is also a talking computer. The exhibition tells how the lives of people with a vision impairment have got better. It is on until 28 October.
Mark O'Brien was a poet-journalist from California. He spent most of his life in an iron lung that he needed to breathe. He had achieved many things in his life. But one thing was missing. And this was sex. O'Brien died in 1999. The story of his life has now been made into a film. The film called The Sessions will play at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August. The filmmaker Ben Lewin will talk about the film at a free event. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Last week I went to an exhibition called Napoleon, Revolution to Empire. The exhibition is about the famous military leader and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. On show are beautiful French paintings, maps, traditional artefacts and royal clothing. Visitors get an understanding of French art, culture and life from the 1770s to the 1820s. They also learn about Napoleon's life and how he influenced Europe. There are excellent audio guides to the entire exhibition for people who are Deaf. I recommend this exhibition to everyone. It's at the National Gallery of Victoria until 7 October.
The marriage of Yusuf and Zulaykha (detail), from Jami, Yusuf u Zulaykha, 1595. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford
The exhibition tells stories of love.
I went to a free exhibition called Love and devotion, from Persia and beyond . Persia is the old name for a region in the Middle East. The exhibition is at the State Library of Victoria until 1 July. On show are beautiful Persian artworks. Some pieces are 700 years old. The colourful artworks show people, palaces, musical instruments and gardens. There are stories, poems and songs that tell of love. These artworks still influence people today. I now want to to learn more about Persian culture. I think if you visit the exhibition you will leave feeling touched and enriched.
If you have trouble getting on and off trams, trains or buses, what can be done about making this a little easier? Two weeks ago about 30 people gathered at Parliament House in Melbourne. They were there for the All Aboard campaign. They want public transport in Victoria that can be easily used. They want people with mobility impairments to be able to independently use trains, buses and trams. They are asking for more audio announcements at stops. They want the government to understand that all people should be equal when using public transport.
The 2012 TV Week Logies were held on Sunday night in Melbourne. The well-known and popular night recognises and awards people who work in television. This year, special guests from overseas included the British boy band One Direction. I was on the red carpet to talk to celebrities as they arrived at the awards. I asked some confronting questions. I wanted to know 'Why aren't there any people with disabilities represented on television?' Most celebrities said people with disabilities should be on television. This opinion was shared by the night's Gold Logie winner Hamish Blake.
Two weeks ago I went to the first-ever Gaslight Festival. It was a four-day camping festival held in the Victorian country town of Maldon. The name Gaslight was chosen for a special reason. In the 1880s many in the Deaf community went to a deaf club in East Melbourne. When the club closed, people would continue talking under the gas lamps in the street. I went to the festival with my family. There were many fantastic activities. We also saw some great theatrical performances. The festival organiser hopes Gaslight will continue into the future. We had a wonderful time.
I went to the rock concert The Wall that played in Melbourne this month. The concert was based on an album by the band Pink Floyd. It was performed by Roger Waters. He was a member of Pink Floyd and wrote most of The Wall. The concert was a spectacular stage show. A wall covered the width of the stage. It was 40-feet high. The show and songs are about problems in society. But it was still a positive show. It made you feel good. I left the show feeling I saw something special.