One of Australia’s pioneering disability activists has died in the early hours of this morning after an extended illness. From his website biography:
Qualified as a rehabilitation Councillor [the first person with a classified disability in Australia to graduate] and Trainer, his knowledge and experience spanned over 30 years in a professional capacity in the Disability Industry.
Jacob was respectfully known as an ideas man with follow through plus. He was known throughout the nation for his determination and commitment to people with classified disabilities by travelling around Australia in an electric wheelchair demonstrating to the public that it’s Ability that counts. Jacob lived on the Far North Coast of N.S.W. Australia.
He ran a Training Agency and was an International motivation speaker. Jacob was a recipient of the 2000 Australian Achiever Award. In his spare time Jacob found great joy in assisting others to achieve their potentials. His leisure interests were chess, reading, writing, cooking, people watching, meditation, performing poetry and travelling.
From Jacob’s list of many “Firsts”:
- First to graduate as a Rehabilitation Counsellor with a classified disability in Australia
- First person with a classified disability to work in the field of Community Welfare in NSW AUSTRALIA
- Established first government funded consumer information resources centre for disability in Australia
- Foundation member of the N.S.W. Disability Council
- Major starring role in ABC Television Logie winning documentary series A MATTER OF CHANCE
- First Person classified as disabled to gain Senior position in NSW Government
- Instigated Byron Bay Access Commitee on North Coast NSW Australia
- First person ever to drive Around Australia in a Powerchair. (battery powered wheelchair – it took him 4 years)
- Co founded Artreach. NSW disability Arts organisation
- First to promote ability on a National scale in Australia
Jacob was a tireless advocate for innovative access solutions for people with disabilities. Most recently he was part of the Australian team behind the UniCab concept taxi that has submitted a design for an accessible electric vehicle to New York City’s Taxi of Tomorrow initiative.
The many people who knew and admired Jacob will sorely miss him.