Explore the growing digital archive of deaf history in Australia.

Samuel Showell

Curator: Bobbie Blackson
Copyright Bobbie Blackson 2024. Used with permission.

Samuel Showell

Guest curator Bobbie Blackson introduces Samuel Showell, a leading figure in the Deaf Community of the early 20th Century.
Samuel Showell
Samuel Showell during his time as Superintendent at the Queensland Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission.

Read: South Australian Deaf Monthly News 1909 Vol.4 No.7 – Excerpt

Samuel Showell was featured in a series on "Prominent Deaf-Mutes and Workers of Australia" in the South Australian Deaf Monthly News in 1909. This article includes information on his early life in England and his beginnings in Australia.
South Australian Deaf Community Collection (Deaf Connect).

Copyright Bobbie Blackson 2024. Used with permission.

"...there shall be no need to pass around the hat for our education, seeing that we pay rates and taxes the same as other people, and are entitled to free education without having the stigma of charity attached to it."
-Samuel Showell, 1904

Samuel Showell Letter to the Editor

Samuel Showell attended the first national Congress of deaf people in Melbourne in 1903-04. He sent this Letter to the Editor of The Age, defending deaf children’s right to public education using sign language.

THE DEAF AND DUMB CONGRESS. (1904, January 4). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197238609

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"...signs to a large extent are natural to the untaught deaf mute, and can only be eradicated by a severity perilously bordering on cruelty."
-Samuel Showell, 1904

Read: Program of the 1911 Congress

Samuel Showell was involved in the Australasian Deaf and Dumb Association, and attended their 1911 Congress in Melbourne. Check out the full program below to find Showell's presentation about employment of deaf people (p. 4).
Image courtesy of Melissa Anderson.

Copyright Bobbie Blackson 2024. Used with permission.

Queensland Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission

Queensland Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission’s first property on North Quay, Brisbane.

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Deaf and Dumb Institute

This newspaper article describes the opening of the Mission’s new building, and some of the activities that happened there.

DEAF AND DUMB INSTITUTE. (1918, March 5). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), p. 4. Retrieved June 1, 2024, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20214771

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Wedding Bells

Samuel Showell included interpreting in his duties as Missioner/Superintendent. He would have been one of Australia’s earliest deaf interpreters!

From the South Australian Deaf Monthly News 1909 Vol.4 No.10. South Australian Deaf Community Collection (Deaf Connect).

Marriage Certificate

Samuel Showell is listed as officiating at the marriage of Leslie Watts and Edith Morey in December 1925.

Image courtesy of the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Queensland, made available under a Creative Commons licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Deaf and Dumb Mission: Tribute to Late Mr Showell

This newspaper article describes an event at the Queensland Deaf and Dumb Mission to pay tribute to Samuel Showell and unveil a photograph of him in the Mission’s hall. 

DEAF AND DUMB MISSION. (1933, November 28). Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936), p. 9 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved June 1, 2024, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article186131533

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Read More

Wilson, S. (2003). The history of the Queensland Deaf Society: From mission to profession 1903- 2003. Brisbane: The Queensland Deaf Society.

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