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Document: Booth and Mortlock

This is a rare example of a common Deaf Community practice – a written conversation with a hearing person not fluent in a signed language. The document shows Fletcher Booth in the role of an advocate, albeit at this stage a subordinate one, a role which was later to develop into leadership of the breakaway Association of Deaf and Dumb Citizens in NSW. It seems that this conversation was important enough at the time that someone typed it up as a record.


31st Oct., 1922

Mr. Booth: We have been wondering if Mr. Forbes will be our permanent Superintendent?
M. Mortlock: Yes, Superintendent and Honorary Secretary.
Mr. Booth: I am sorry to say that we need a man who can interpret as well as Mr. Abrahams.
Mr. Mortlock: Perhaps so, but you must remember that these men are not to be had just for the asking – Mr. Abrahams himself stated that he knew of no one either here or in England who would be suitable. It is necessary to have not only a man of wide sympathy, but also one who can speak to both to the hearing and deaf people.
Mr. Booth: The deaf are not pleased because they could not see Mr. Forbes interpreting at the Annual Meeting in St. James Hall. I don’t want to hurt his feelings but I can’t help telling you that he makes so many mistakes.
Mr. Mortlock: Perhaps so – but don’t forget that he has done a lot for the Society in the past, and there is such a thing as gratitude, which should be exercised by the Deaf and Dumb as well as others. I know of no one who can at present take Mr. Forbes place.
Mr. Booth: Yes, we understand that. we will be satisfied and keep the things well with him.
Mr. Mortlock: When you say permanent, do you mean for always.
Mr. Booth: Yes.
Mr. Mortlock: No office is permanent in that sense. If we suceed in our building efforts the whole position will have to be reviewed.
Mr. Booth: I see that. Hope the appeal will be successful. Do you mind if I make proper plans and elevation on a large scale and show them at the Sale of Work to ask people to throw in a coin.
Mr. Mortlock: Yes, that will be good. Anything we can do to interest the public is good.
Mr. Booth: I will not charge for my trouble. Only to help my bit.
Mr Mortlock: Two Ladies raise 72 pounds out at Woolahra the other week.
Mr. Booth: I must not keep you from your business. Thank you very much for allowing me to speak to you.

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