Explore the growing digital archive of deaf history in Australia.

About Us

Welcome to Deaf History Collections. Our mission is to preserve, share and enjoy Australian Deaf History together.

You will not find a traditional “institutional” history of deaf people on this website, although of course many institutions come into it. The deaf experience is much broader than that. Here you will find the writings, images and artefacts created by deaf people (and sometimes about deaf people) as we built our communities, preserved our language, expressed our opinions, created works of art, engaged in diplomacy with the world around us, or resisted its unjust use of power.

Deaf History Collections are growing, and you can contribute. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us or see how you can get involved. We are always open to good suggestions of items we can add to the website, or things we can improve. 

FAQs

CAN I CONTRIBUTE TO DEAF HISTORY COLLECTIONS?

Absolutely! We encourage contributions from the community. If you have relevant materials or suggestions, please click the ‘Feedback’ icon (‘blue hand’) on the website pages, or contact us. Check out our “Get Involved” section to learn how you can contribute to the growth of the collection. 

HOW CAN I PROVIDE FEEDBACK OR SUGGESTIONS?

We value your input! If you have comments, suggestions, or ideas for improvement, please reach out to us using the ‘Feedback’ icon (‘blue hand’) on the website pages, or contact us. Your feedback is crucial in making Deaf History Collections a dynamic and enriching resource. 

HOW OFTEN IS THE WEBSITE UPDATED?

Deaf History Collections is a growing platform, and we aim to regularly update the content. The frequency of updates depends on the contributions we receive from the community. Check back periodically to explore new additions to the collection or sign up to our mailing list. We will be sending out updates bi-monthly.   

How do I request materials to be changed or removed?

Every effort has been made to ensure accurate attribution and content, but if we have made a mistake then we want to know about it.

You can make a request for us to update or even take down materials from the website if you have a reason to believe they are incorrect, in breach of copyright, in breach of privacy, if you have previously given consent and wish to withdraw it, or if you have concerns relating to anyone’s safety because of the materials being on our website.

You can make a request by contacting us through this website or emailing [email protected].

When we receive your request we will make every effort to investigate, make a decision and inform you of the decision within 10 business days.

Please note that even if we remove or change materials on the website we are not able to control any downloads that people may have made before the materials were removed or changed.

What is the scope (range of time and place) of Deaf History Collections?

We aim to include material on the website from as early as possible in Australian history, up until 1990-1995.  

The artefacts we include are almost all Australian. We also include some items from other countries, if they are relevant to Australian stories. 

What is our approach to using ‘deaf’ and ‘Deaf’ on Deaf History Collections?

When we reproduce historical records, we follow their original usage of deaf/Deaf. 

In our own text, we follow more contemporary Deaf Studies conventions of using lower-case ‘d’ for all references to deaf individuals. We use the upper-case ‘D’ only for entities such as ‘Deaf community’, ‘Deaf culture’ and similar terms.  

What terminology do we use to describe deaf and hard of hearing people on Deaf History Collections?

Many terms/words have been used to describe deaf and hard of hearing people throughout history. Some terms which were acceptable in particular time periods are now considered out-dated and (sometimes) offensive.  

When we reproduce historical records, we include their original terminology, so you will see outdated terms such as ‘deaf and dumb’, ‘deaf-mute’, ‘hearing impaired’, and others – these reflect common usage of those times. 

In our own text, we use the terms ‘deaf’ and ‘hard of hearing’. 

Can I donate my old papers/photos/other materials to Deaf History Collections?

No, we don’t collect or store physical materials (actual papers, photos or films). Everything on Deaf History Collections must be digital.  

If you have old materials to share with us, contact us to tell us what you have, and we will discuss the next steps with you. 

Our Contributors

Christopher Parker

Dr. Breda Carty

Dr. Susannah Lee

Vanessa Alford

Our Supporters

Brent Phillips

Darlene Thornton

Trevor Johnston

Melissa Anderson

Della Bampton

Sally Strobridge

Bobbie Blackson

Rowan Davie

Karen Lloyd

Tony Clews

Caroline Conlon

Donovan Cresdee

Cameron Davie

Phil Harper

John Louttit

Len Bytheway

Dr. Louise De Beuzeville

Gaye Lyons

Welcome to the Deaf History Collections

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of Country throughout Australia and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors to our site, recognising the long, rich, complex and unjustly disregarded histories of First Nations peoples in Australia.
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If you have feedback, information to add, or see an error that needs to be fixed on this page, use this form. There are two ways: write a message or send us a video message.
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