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Playground to be built as tribute to Quentin Kenihan


UPDATED | The State Government will help fund a special playground accessible to people with a disability to honour the legacy of disability advocate, writer and film maker Quentin Kenihan who died on the weekend.

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Premier Steven Marshall says the idea of such an inclusive playground in the heart of the city was part of Kenihan’s platform in standing for a seat at the upcoming Adelaide council elections.

Marshall has described the 43-year-old as a a “great son of South Australia” who managed to put his significant health challenges behind him as much as he could.

Kenihan died after being taken to hospital on Saturday for breathing difficulties.

“It’s fair to say many of us had grown up living with Quentin ever since that first Mike Willesee interview decades ago,” the premier said.

“He really made an enormous contribution.”

Kenihan, who had bone disease osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, became a household name in the 1980s after a TV documentary with Willesee.

He also had a television series on Channel 10, acted in the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road, performed at the Adelaide fringe festival and penned a biography.

Marshall said the government would negotiate with the city council on funding for the playground as soon as possible after the November elections.

He said it would be appropriate for the new facility to be named in Kenihan’s honour.

The government will also talk to Kenihan’s family about providing support for a memorial service but it was unclear if he could be granted a state funeral.

Among those to pay tribute to him on Sunday was actor Russell Crowe who said he was devastated by the loss of his “little mate”.

“The bravest bloke I ever met … not confined anymore,” he tweeted

Best friend Filip Odzak said Kenihan’s life was dedicated to advocating for those with disabilities and taught him there were no limitations.

“He travelled the world and achieved things that no abled-body person could,” he said.

“His legacy is long-lasting and impactful.”

Odzak said his mate was a “go-getter” who never took no for an answer.

“He had a sharp wit and a devilish sense of humour.

“He was a ride or die friend, even in death we will ride together.”

Odzak said he and others would complete Kenihan’s bucket list in his honour, including having a park for children with disabilities in Adelaide.

He recently put his hand up to become an area councillor for Adelaide City Council at next month’s election.

Labor leader Bill Shorten and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne were among a raft of political heavyweights who’ve paid tribute.

“‘We all have the ability to find the inner superhero in ourselves’ – what a superhero Quentin Kenihan was,” Shorten tweeted.

Pyne said Mr Kenihan’s “drive, ambition and character” took him from the fringe festival to Hollywood, while being a strong advocate for people with disabilities.

Dignity Party board member Phillip Beddall said Kenihan “lit up the room” and had given disability a mainstream audience.


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