Councillor for the ward of Glenferrie, Boroondarra City Council
Steve Hurd was born in Geelong. His mother had rubella during pregnancy which resulted in him being totally blind at birth. At age 2 after many operations some sight was regained in his right eye.
Steve went to a mainstream kinder and loved it, then he went to the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and lived there from age 4 and one half. He learned what institutionalisation was and with friends promised to rise up against the disability sector one day after what they considered to be unjust treatment by some staff.
Steve was one of the first people with no practical vision to go to a state high school from year 7 to 12. Although some teachers wanted him to leave at 15, saying a sheltered workshop would be “your contribution to the community”, he went on to get the highest humanities hsc score ever achieved by a vision impaired person and the 3rd highest hsc in the school which got him into law at Monash.
Once at Monash Steve started the Australian disabled students union and was latter elected president of the Monash student union. In 1985 with 3 others he formed the group PENI people for equality not institutionalization to make good on his earlier promice to rise up. PENI did many protests against disability institutions.
He has worked as a lawyer and has been a federal candidate for the ALP. He has recently been appointed as an honourary fellow at the University of Melbourne working on advanced technology and vision loss. This includes the driverless car and other projects.
He has won many awards including a premier’s community service award, “shine on” award from Rotary and “most outstanding male tv presenter” in 2009 for acting, singing, comedy and interviewing on the “no Limits” tv show.
Thursday 1st September, 2016: 3:30am - 5:30am
This special multi-media event marks the 30th anniversary of funded disability advocacy in Victoria. We will be reminded of the campaigns and personalities that have been telling the story of disability advocacy, how integral these were in building a rich history, and how this strong foundation is what we build on to create a future where rights are respected for all.