A Timeline

Robert Farley ~ 3rd July 1954 to 28th August 2011

The following is based on a study course information sheet: "2002-2003: Resources - Robert Farley Profile, and other notes.

At the age of seven, Robert contracted poliomyelitis. Formative years of childhood spent in the Margaret Reid Orthopaedic Hospital for Crippled Children were followed by teens in a wheelchair and decades of social isolation, softened by a close and loving family. 

Life changed for Robert when he accessed appropriate disability support programs. The importance of being able to live in the community and access all services and facilities available, means a lot to Robert as they have not always been there for him. In his adult years Robert achieve much. He was very talented, especially in art and creative writing.

1970 ~ Literary Award in National Bicentenary Literary competition - short story category.  “The Princess and the Crab”.  One of ten nationwide winners. 1975-1985 ~ Craftsman, designing and hand-crafting wooden toys and children’s furniture.  Registering with the Crafts Council of NSW, his craftsmanship was exhibited throughout the Hunter and he was commissioned to craft toys and furniture for clients throughout Australia and Asia. 1990 ~ Chairman of NewLake Peer Support disability service 1991 ~ Prize-winner in Japan’s Wataboshi Literary competition – short story category.  “The Butterfly and the Frog” story published in Japanese. 1990-1994 ~ Active member of the “Poetry at the Pub” movement.  Performed prose and poetry live at various venues and broadcast over 2NUR-FM.  Published “Goanna Rituals”. 1993-1994 ~ Volunteer Teacher at the Hunter Orthopaedic School, teaching one on one for students with high support needs. 1993 ~
  • Employed by Port Stephens Council, as a consultant to research needs for disabled parking and related community access issues in Raymond Terrace.
  • Volunteer Building Coordinator at Raymond Terrace Community Care Centre, a HACC co-location and community facility. Robert developed policy and procedure systems and coordinated a group of community volunteers.
  • Founding chairperson of Port Stephens Council Access Committee. The production of a Mobility Guide for the Tomaree Peninsula for disabled visitors and tourists gave Robert great satisfaction.  Organised and conducted training/awareness days for the Council’s employees.
  • Appointed by the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning to Membership of the Regional Committee of the Hunter Area Assistance Scheme.
  • Chairperson and member of the Hunter Area Disability and Community Support Committee, giving advice and support to the Department of Community Services Area Manager.
1996 ~
  • Gained Tertiary qualifications in Human Resource Management through studies at Newcastle TAFE
  • Provided Consultation work to the HACC Training Project. Presenting community workshops for Dungog Council, relating to disability issues/awareness.
1994-1997  Member of the Department of Community Services planning and advisory groups in the area of disability and the Home and Community Care Project. 1997 ~
  • Awarded the Port Stephens Citizen of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to the community.
  • Organised and convened the Port Stephens Writers Group
1999 ~
  • Appointed as a Community Visitor by the Hon. Fay Lo Po’ MP – Minister for Disability Services under the Community Services (Complaints, Appeals and Monitoring) Act 1993
  • Guest Speaker at Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis Service Clubs throughout Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.
2003 ~ Key Note Speaker for Life Activities International Conference on Disability. Robert has a wide range of experience that provides valuable insight into and understanding of disability issues.  Societal attitude towards and expectations of people with a disability inhibit the potential of many with a disability to achieve.  Through expertise and personal experience Robert is able to forcefully and compellingly promote equity and the value and importance of community access and inclusion for all members of the community. Many disability organisations sought Robert out for his expertise, creativity, sharp mind, unique view of life, mischievous spark, ability to connect with people, commitment to long term change, and sheer presence. Robert was drawn on to interview and educate staff by the State Government and community organisations such as Maiwell.  He appeared in the media on disability issues with dignity, intelligence and charm.

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