New Collection: Geoff Bell

The University of Melbourne Archives recently acquired the papers of Geoffrey Bell (1944-2008). The collection documents the social and political history of the disability rights movement in Australia during that period.

Bell, who lived with a high level spinal cord injury for 43 years, was an important figure in the development of the movement, which advocated for self-determination, independence, and equality for people with disabilities.

Along with formal records documenting Bell’s involvement on various committees, organisations and self-help groups there is also evidence in the archive of Bell’s own personal experience with disability, including personal correspondence, care records, and instruction booklets for the various aids and equipment used by Bell.

In addition to Bell’s papers, the collection contains his extensive library of third party publications relating to disability. Steadily collected between 1970 and 2001 these publications track the continued development of disability rights in Australia and thus form an important component of this collection.

The Geoffrey Bell Collection is a useful resource for researchers interested in the history of the disability rights movement in Australia and may prove a useful aid for future debates and discussions on disability rights issues.

Further information about these records is available through the University of Melbourne Archives catalogue. The University of Melbourne’s Professor of Disability & Inclusion would be interested in hearing from people who might like to access the archive for research purposes:  keith.mcvilly@uinimelb.edu.au.