Invictus Games Sydney Education Project

Welcome to the Invictus Australia Education Project. This project is a joint initiative of the NSW Department of Education and Invictus Australia and aims to provide high quality curriculum materials linked to the Invictus Games.

What are the Invictus Games?

Watch this short introductory film (8:53 min) to learn about the Invictus Games and understand why they are so unique.

A short introductory film to learn about the Invictus Games

(Duration: 8 minutes 53 seconds)


Out of the night that covers me. Black as the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever gods may be. For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance. I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance. My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears. Looms but the Horror of the shade. And yet the menace of the years. Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate. How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.

[Crowd cheering, applause]

HRH The Duke of Sussex – Prince Harry

Invictus is about the dedication of the men and women who served their countries, confronted hardship and refused to be defined by their injuries. Invictus is about the families and friends who face the shock of learning that their loved ones have been injured or fallen ill, and then rally to support them on their journey of recovery. And above all, Invictus is about the example to the world that all servicemen and women, injured or not, provide about the importance of service and duty.

[Crowd cheering, applause]

Craig McGrath

The Invictus Games, what does it mean to me? It''s an opportunity to come together with some...with guys that I've served with. It's an opportunity to compete in an environment with the other coalition countries that are there.

Served 23 years in the Australian Army. I spent 22 years of those in Special Forces. I spent a lot of time away from my family over that time and it was very difficult. I had numerous injuries that have precluded me from staying in the military, so I've had to leave. And there's a lot of things that I physically can't do that I used to be able to do.

Patrick Kidd

The Invictus Games were started in 2014 by Prince Harry, back in London. And most simply put, the Invictus Games are about promoting and stimulating rehabilitation from injury and illness by using sport as its central platform. And, really, what they do is they provide this incredible opportunity for people to take themselves away from their beds, to take themselves away from their illness, to focus on things other than just themselves, and using sport as its platform to encourage them to reach out, connect with other people, play sport, be active. And when that happens, people start to reinvent themselves and find their way forwards when otherwise they're sometimes less clear about how to necessarily re-engage with their communities.

So 'invictus' is the Latin word meaning 'unconquered' that defines the people who participate in these Games, because each and every one of them have been impacted by their service. They've suffered mental trauma and sickness.

Ian Thorpe

This is the reason why sport is so important for people who have been wounded on the battlefield or struggle to be able to get out of home because of some of the mental health issues that they're facing. And when you see an improvement, you know it was because of the hard work that you put into it rather than what you can't do.

Craig McGrath

I felt a little conquered when I got injured. And I felt like...that I'd failed in some way. And the Games reminds me that that's not necessarily the case. I'm still here. I'm able to adapt and try new things. It gives us an opportunity to be good at something again.

Patrick Kidd

They've made the conscious choice to get up, play sport, connect with other people and get themselves moving forward.

Craig McGrath

Being in the military was one part of your life. And nice to have that feeling again, that I can be good at something and practise and be better.

Patrick Kidd

So the Invictus Games brings together 500 competitors from 18 different nations. The decision as to who gets to the Games, who's selected to compete for their nation at the Games, is very much down to each of the nations. And the principle that they should follow is about looking at that individual in his own right and saying, "Which person is going to benefit the most from the experience?"

[Focused music]

[Song: Whoa-oh-oh, oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh, oh-oh Whoa-oh-oh...]

Patrick Kidd

So I hope that by your involvement in these Games, by watching, by being interested in them, by understanding what they're about is that you, yourself, can understand better what it means to serve in the nation's military and how we can all support them as we go forward.

HRH The Duke of Sussex

These Games are not about gold, silver or bronze medals. They never have been. They're about the journey that you and your families have made to the start line.

[Crowd cheering]

Patrick Kidd

The inspiration comes from seeing what it is people can do when they decide that they're going to do it. It's their own personal journey with themselves and with others to absolutely live to their potential. And then you see the connection that comes from that person with their families, with their support networks and you see the strength of people who connect and do things together. And you sit in the stands and you look at it and every...every event that you see, you'll have a tear in your eye because it could be you who's there and it's not. But actually what you're seeing in front of you is not something you should ever feel sorry for. They're not people who want your sympathy. But what you're seeing are people who are inspirational and they are things that we should celebrate.

[Dynamic music]

Ian Thorpe

They're going to love the venues and also being in the city. I just hope that everyone is able to get behind it as much as we expect them to.

Craig McGrath

If people can get out and see some of the wheelchair sports, they're a fantastic sport to watch. I know the first time I saw it played, I was amazed at how skilful and the speed and intensity of the game. It was quite impressive. The sailing on the harbour and the cycling around the harbour will be a great event to watch. Some of the people that are in the adaptive cycling, it's pretty inspirational to see what these people can do regardless of what's happened to them.

Patrick Kidd

Invictus Games is an unbelievable platform that will touch every Australian home when the Games are held here in October this year. And the Games will showcase these amazing stories from across the world of people who overcome mental health issues, physical health issues. We can celebrate those stories. Those stories will inspire a nation about what they can do.

[Song: Whoa-oh-oh Whoa-oh, oh-whoa-oh-oh.]

[End of transcript]

Key inquiry focus questions

The central educational engagement of the project encourages guided inquiry based on the central themes of inclusion, resilience and service.


Watch "Inclusion and the Invictus Games" (6:18 min).

'Inclusion' Invictus Games Sydney 2018 video

(Duration: 6 minutes 18 seconds)


Garry Robinson: My name is Garry Robinson. I'm here training for the 2018 Sydney Invictus Games here, held in Homebush.


Garry: I spent 21 years in the military. Unfortunately for me, I was involved in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan. So, sport for me has been investing in part of my recovery. Things that I enjoy about the Games is being around other sick, wounded and ill athletes. Irrespective of what country you come from, we are like brothers and sisters. I use them as my own inspiration. I know I physically inspire people, but those people inspire me. Gives me the strength and drive to keep going. Irrespective of what injury we have, we can display to the public, to the world, that we are unconquered.

Having the Invictus Games in Sydney, for me, will be the pinnacle of my recovery. I had a lot of doctors and nurses say I'd never swim, never cycle again, but I'd like to prove to them that I'm still here, the old Garry is still here, and I can still use the power of sport to promote my recovery.

The distance that I shoot from for Invictus Games is 18 metres. It's generally indoors, but for the Sydney Invictus Games, it will be outdoors. Generally, you fire three arrows, one at each end. As you can see, I have my bow, my arrows, and it'd be one arrow at each target. My bow is quite a good bow. I'm in the process now of possibly developing it into a newer bow, but for now this is the bow that I'm using. For archery, I have to use different types of aids. This one you can see is my shoulder release, so it gives me the best way to release the arrow for archery.

The other sports I'm competing in are swimming and cycling. I ride what they call a recumbent bike, where I'm almost laying down, so it takes a lot of development in the cycling leg that I use, a prosthetic leg. So between the recumbent bike and the cycling leg, it gives me the best way to get back into cycling. I swim in what they call the ISA category, which is three limbs affected. So, I can essentially only swim with one arm, so I'm swimming against guys who are double amputees or multiple amputees, so it's very slow, but we all eventually get there.

The prosthesis that I wear, whether it's cycling, walking or archery, is very well designed. A lot of research and development has gone into it. This wheelchair here is the only wheelchair that I have. It gives me the mobility at home and on the sporting field.

It takes a lot of research and development to get the seat right for archery.

Man: I'll just get you to pop your hands back for me, thank you.

Garry: So the support that that can give us will obviously benefit with the archery itself. Accessibility for disabled people, the biggest thing for me is my mobility. Whether it's wheelchair accessibility or just trying to walk through different areas, accessibility for para-athletes in general is quite hard at times.

Man: So all the green and yellow spots are gone.

Garry: Gone, yeah. I can already feel the drastic improvement. Comparing to my old cushion to the cushion now, I feel much more stable. So I think my archery's going to be 10 times better. It will improve my archery.

Man: Yeah. Well, that's good.

Garry: Definitely.

Man: Yeah.

Garry: Life for me after my injuries was very, very hard. I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I spent two and a half years in hospital. A lot of dark times and a lot of pain.

My competitive nature has helped me through my recovery. Doctors always said the injuries that I sustained, a normal person wouldn't have survived, and I was... So the pain I went through to get to where I am today... And Invictus Games has saved my life. Like I said, it's been very, very hard. I was very fortunate and lucky to still be here today.

The biggest challenge that I have today with my injuries is my brain injury. I forget things quite easily. Generally my memory's only good for two or three days, so within four or five days time, I wouldn't remember this interview at all. So I've got to resort back to... The way for me to get around that, I take a lot of photos and watch a lot of footage about...if it involves myself or what I've done.

The biggest thing for me getting back to where I am today is my family. The support they've given me, I'm immensely grateful. Irrespective of the new Garry who's before you today, the old Garry is still there. So they've had to evolve and adapt to what their father is, or partner is, so they mean a lot to me.

The message that I'd like people to take away from the Games is no-one is unconquered. You see people with missing arms, missing legs, and what they can do, what people said they couldn't do, for some of us, that's all we have.


Commentator: And there it is, to touch for the gold medal!

End of transcript

  • People with disabilities experience a range of challenges in everyday life. Can you identify some of these challenges? Explore how you could improve accessibility in your local community and for the future.
  • There are a range of accessible adaptations in society for people with a physical disability - but not all disabilities are physical. How do you identify disabilities which aren't physical? Explore how you can better support mental health and wellbeing in your community.
  • The Invictus Games uses sport to promote positive physical and mental health for injured veterans. What other ways have soldiers coped with post-war challenges in the past? Explore how what we've learned in the past can help us in the future.
  • The Invictus Games showcases the ability of wounded war veterans with a positive approach. How can we support and include other types of communities who face challenges and share their stories? Explore the ideas behind the Invictus Games and use them as a model for change in other areas of the community.


Watch "Resilience and the Invictus Games" (6:49 min).

'Resilience' Invictus Games Sydney 2018 video

(Duration: 6 minutes 49 seconds)


Wayne Hopkins: My name's Wayne Hopkins. I served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 21 years. I originally joined the Air Force as a Radio Technician. And in my first posting, I worked on electronic warfare for the F/A-18 Hornet. I've been discharged now since 2011. I've been in the service for... Or I was in the service for 21 years. I spent a lot of time trying to work out what was going on.

Wayne Hopkins: Yes, you see Invictus Games, you see a lot of media coverage and you see a lot of focus on physical injuries. So that takes away a lot of the focus off people who don't have a physical injury but still have things that they need to deal with. I have both physical and mental injuries, but they're not highly visible. I have a fracture in L4 and L5 and a bulging disc. That affects my ability to bend and flex. I've suffered a full rupture of C4, C5...and C6 in my neck and in conjunction with that, I've got nerve damage down my right arm. Sport, for me, has been a great help of moving forward and in my recovery.

Cindy Hopkins: The positives of the Invictus Games to myself and our children is...watching Wayne re-create himself.
Wayne Hopkins: Continual development for me in a sporting similar to an education aspect. It's a matter of analysing the environment, the situation and what you want to achieve, and then putting in the effort to strategise a way to move forward and get to an end point.

Cindy Hopkins: He has been getting some amazing support from people in the cycling and the archery.

Wayne Hopkins: Since joining the Invictus team, I have trained very hard and I am feeling much better with myself. I'm sleeping much better and life is looking a whole lot better overall.

Wayne Hopkins: I've taken up the sport of archery recently and I find that it's a very calming sport. To shoot an arrow straight, you need to be able to relax your body. That's something that is beneficial to everybody, to zone in on themselves...and block out the world.

Wayne Hopkins: I think my advice to other people starting off and realising that they may have post-traumatic stress disorder is to acknowledge that you can't beat it. When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I...I truly believed that everybody else had a problem and not me. You have got to acknowledge what that is and then work with it.

Wayne Hopkins: My message to students about resilience is never give up. There's always a way around a problem and a solution only just needs to be found. My motivation would be to keep on trying new things, improving myself and moving forward.

Cindy Hopkins: It may take some time, however he has always been able to find something in himself that gives him purpose to get up and do something.

Wayne Hopkins: It's unfortunate that when we leave Defence, we fall into a very deep hole of solitude.

Cindy Hopkins: He's assimilating back into society as a whole and, for me, that is the most exciting prospect.

Wayne Hopkins: Some of the things that I'm looking at doing is...learning how to instruct adaptive snow skiing for people who are either autistic or have physical capabilities.

Cindy Hopkins: He is starting to widen his circles of friends.

Wayne Hopkins: I race at local clubs and I'll be encouraging other people to get into that sport as well.

Cindy Hopkins: The quiet confidence that that builds in him is amazing to watch.

Wayne Hopkins: And that's something that I've not felt from outside my family for a very long time. Yeah, when people ask me who is my hero, the first person that comes to mind for me is my wife, Cindy. We've been married for over 25 years now. She's seen me from before I joined the Air Force till after I've discharged. She's been extremely supportive through all of my career, all of my rehabilitation and without her strength and support, I don't think that I'd be where I am today.

Cindy Hopkins: Quality of life after an injury is massive and people sometimes need a bit of help with that.
Wayne Hopkins: I think without that level of support, I probably would have just stayed at home and did what I normally did, which was try not to communicate with other people.

Cindy Hopkins: We had to readjust and that's what you do in life.

Wayne Hopkins: Resilience is a very important aspect of human nature.

Cindy Hopkins: You're more than what your role is. You can always find another role.

Wayne Hopkins: And all of the network we had when we were at work doesn't exist anymore. We rely heavily on our family to move forward.

Cindy Hopkins: [SIGHS] He picks himself up.

Wayne Hopkins: And that's, to me, what resilience is. That's part of our life.

Invictus 2018, I'm excited to actually be feeling good about myself.


End of transcript

  • The Invictus Games uses sport to build resilience. How does sport impact on us mentally and physically? Explore options at your school to improve mental and physical wellbeing.
  • We are learning all the time about resilience and its links to mental and physical health. What have we learnt about the past which has improved life for others? Explore what the future holds for those affected by mental and physical health challenges.
  • People with disabilities experience a range of challenges in everyday life. How could you help someone who has a disability? Explore what changes that you could make in your school to make it more accessible.
  • There are a range of accessible adaptations in society for people with a physical disability - but not all disabilities are physical. How do you identify disabilities which aren't physical? Explore how you can better support mental health and wellbeing in your community.


Watch "Service and the Invictus Games" (4:51 min).

'Service' Invictus Games Sydney 2018 video

(Duration: 4 minutes 51 seconds)

[Bright music]

Andrew Wilkinson: My name's Andrew Wilkinson and I was a helicopter mechanic or an aviation technician in the Navy for 11 years. Worked on the Sea Kings and on the MRHs, on the new ones that have just come into service. So, the injury I have is medically called a floppy foot. With the nerve squashed in my back, there's muscle degeneration down the left side of my leg, so then there's basically no muscles in the left ankle, and as I run, as I swim, it just flops around, so there's no propulsion, there's no drive from that leg.

So, one of the events that I'm competing in at the Invictus Games is the cycling. There's the time trial, individual time trial in the morning, which is a 2.3-kay loop, one lap of the course, and then in the afternoon, we have a 30-minute criterium. I'll be competing in swimming as well. I'll be competing in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke and the 50m breaststroke. The classification I'll be in is S10, which is equivalent to amputee below the knee or loss of muscle function in one leg. The thing I liked about the Navy was going to sea, the freedom of it, being at sea. The ships that I went on, I had the freedom of taking a lot of sporting equipment. Then, working on the aircraft, mixing the two together, working on the aircraft at sea, getting thrown about in the roughers, getting wet - it's just all part of the fun. Seeing different parts of the world, which was nice, different cultures, and, yeah, it was all part of the fun.

Service, I guess, is to serve, basically, to help out, to put your best foot forward and to do what you're trained to do, to do what you have trained to do to help out others in their time of need. And I guess, to a point, to help yourself as well, to serve yourself, to be able to be healthy in the mind, healthy in the body. But then to serve is to help out others as well get back on track.

HRH The Duke of Sussex [Prince Harry]: Duty and service is in their blood.

Andrew Wilkinson: Yeah, you're pulling on a uniform, you're following a code of conduct, conducting yourself in a proper manner that is befitting the uniform, befitting the state that is given to you by the powers that be.

Sir Peter Cosgrove: But the lives we lead, the freedoms and liberties we cherish, are protected by those who do serve and whose service exacts a very real human toll. These Games are for them.

HRH The Duke of Sussex: Let the examples of service and resilience that you have seen inspire you to take action to improve something, big or small, in your life for your family or in your community.

Andrew Wilkinson: I guess representing the country and serving are pretty much the same.

HRH The Duke of Sussex: And on your return home, I want you to set a new Invictus goal - make a plan about how you're going to use the experience of this week to help lift up all those around you. It might be something big, like starting a new project for young people, or it might be something small, like reconnecting with an old friend. It doesn't matter how big or small your step is. Just take it. And you never know - this may just be the missing piece of the puzzle to help you regain that satisfaction of serving others once again.

Andrew Wilkinson: I think it's still the highest accolade that you can have, that you can be given. It still gives me that nice, warm, fuzzy feeling when I get up in the morning that I know I'm going to represent my country.

HRH The Duke of Sussex: Once you've served, you are always serving.

[Emotional music]

End of transcript.

  • There are many different kinds of service in our community ? military, community and others. What are the benefits of service to our community? Explore the kinds of service that might exist in your school or local communities.
  • The veterans of the Invictus Games have served our nation. What does it mean to serve your country? Explore the benefits that both service people and our society gain from serving others.
  • The Invictus Games veterans have served in many different capacities ? through conflict, peace time and even natural disasters. What forms of military service are there? Explore the different roles that the military plays and explore the different organisations that comprise our Defence Forces.
  • The Invictus Games celebrates veterans from the Defence Forces who have served our country. How could we celebrate other forms of community? Explore ideas to support the recognition and celebration of those who serve in other capacities.

Online modules

Everyone can play. That's the message in this Stage 3 unit on adaptive and inclusive sports and games. Adaptive sports are not just for people with a disability, in fact adaptive sports make important changes that allow everyone to play in a fair and fun way. Learn about some of the adaptive sports played at the Invictus Games, play some adaptive sports and games with your class and then create your own own adaptive sport.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Stage 3

This module explores the skills, strategies and technologies available to manage change and challenges, linking the history of technology with mindsets of resilience and strength to the modern-day Invictus Games competitor.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Stage 3

This module explores the science of biomechanics to capture, analyse and improve the ways their bodies perform in order to reach undiscovered peaks of achievements – with a focus on marginal gains, or small improvements and modifications in movements that can lead to major impacts on performance.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 PDHPE Stage 4

This module explores developments in prosthetic technologies through time to assist veterans, including the Invictus Games competitors, as well as focusing on the future possibilities.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Science Stage 5

This module examines perceptions of veteran wellbeing and Australia’s role in wars throughout the 20th century, linking these historical perceptions with today’s celebration of Invictus Games competitors.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 HSIE/English Stage 5

This module investigates inventions and designs that seek to improve access for all, leading to a project-based task in which students design, market and create a prototype of their own inclusive invention.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 TAS Stage 5

This module explores Australia's involvement in contemporary conflict and peacekeeping missions, the role of service personnel through time and stories of contemporary service personnel who are competing in the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.

View Invictus Games Sydney 2018 HSIE Stage 5


  • HSIE

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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