When the University of Wollongong’s recreation and aquatic centre (URAC) set out to spruce up its wall of trophies and medals and create a Sporting Hall of Fame, director Paul Manning was worried he wouldn’t be able to find enough to fill the display. But, as memorabilia came pouring in, it soon became obvious just how rich the institution’s sporting history has been.
For instance, graduate Martin Harland who competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics found his uniform in a box under his house, Mr Manning said, while other top athletes sent signed touring shirts, medals and equipment.
“This is only the beginning of what we’ve found, we’ve got angles into people that have won Olympic medals that are UOW graduates and people who are competing in the Rio Olympics too,” Mr Manning said.
The Sporting Hall of Fame opened this week, as part of the final stage of a $2 million renovation project at URAC.
Mr Manning hoped the display would “celebrate, inspire, and educate” visitors.
“We hope this new display will encourage our visitors to go further, faster and higher,” he said.
“Over 200,000 people walk through that area every year, and that’s growing, and it’s the young kids going to swimming lessons, the teenagers in the squads, the parents and grandparents that are coming with them.
“The generational education process will be invigorated by the sorts of people that are going to come through there.”
The display will be updated periodically with photos, uniforms and various sporting artifacts.