Deaf Society Celebrates 100 Years
18 October 2013 at 10:41 am
Deaf Society of NSW, which played an instrumental role in establishing Auslan classes, will celebrate its Centenary this weekend.
The Not for Profit organisation started at Sydney Town Hall in October 1913, as the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of New South Wales “to take on the spiritual, intellectual, moral and social needs of these afflicted people”.
Since then it’s played a number of important roles in providing deaf services which not only included a role in starting Auslan classes, but securing the role of sign language interpreters in courts, government departments and other fee-for-service work on a permanent basis in 1996.
The organisation also advocated for Auslan to be recognised by the Australian government as a "community language other than English" and the preferred language of the deaf community in a policy statement in 1987.
Deaf Society of NSW Chief Executive Officer Sharon Everson said the centenary was a time for the organisation to reflect on past achievements.
“Our organisation has made a monumental difference to the deaf community by continuing to provide services and advocate key issues. We are proud of how far we have come and look forward to tackling bigger challenges over the next 100 years,” Everson said.
As part of the celebrations, centenary ambassador and deaf PlaySchool star Sofya Gollan, will be hosting free drama classes for children.
“It is wonderful to be part of Australia’s deaf community. Even though I have a cochlear implant, it is fantastic to be bilingual and stay connected with the help of Australian Sign Language,” Gollan said.
The Deaf Society of NSW also hosted the 2nd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf which ends today and highlighted the need for urgent action towards equality for deaf people.
The conference attracted delegates from more than 60 countries and included a panel discussion including three deaf members of the New Zealand, South African and Hungarian parliaments to discuss the inclusion of deaf politicians in government and how they can help lobby for equal rights for deaf people.
The organisation will also celebrate its centenary with an International Deaf Festival, International Deaf Film Festival and Centenary Celebration afternoon tea.
To find out more about the Deaf Society of NSW centenary events, click here.