Victorian Deaf history
Meeting under light of Melbourne’s gaslights, the Victorian Deaf community has come a long way over 150 years. We are proud of our past – a gaslight even remains at the front of our building. Today, we are focused on the future and our vision of creating an inclusive society and with equal opportunity for all.
- The Victorian Deaf Society was formally established in 1884 and was known as “The Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission of Victoria”.
- The Mission built their first home and church on a block of land at 32-34 Flinders Street, Melbourne in 1903. This is now the location of the Ernst & Young building.
- In 1908 the Mission became incorporated as “The Adult Deaf and Dumb Society”.
- The Mission established a farm and purchased 75 acres of land through a grant from the Australian Government.
- This land surrounded Blackburn Lake and the property was known as Lake Park.
- Lake Park was opened in 1909 as the “Home for Aged and Infirm and Training Farm for Feeble-Minded Deaf Mutes”.
- A nursing home and hostel named “Lakeside Lodge” was opened in 1972.
- By 2002 the Deaf Society did not have the funds to upgrade the nursing home to meet new federal government requirements and sold the property to the Regis Group.
- In 1924, the Mission moved their services to Jolimont Square on Wellington Parade in East Melbourne and dropped the word “dumb” from its title.
- Jolimont Square housed many buildings and services for the Deaf community over 79 years.
- These included sports clubs, a men’s hostel, a church, community centre, coffee lounge, administration and welfare offices and staff quarters.
- H.E.A.R. Service began in 1975 (now Expression Audiology)
- In 2004, Vicdeaf sold Jolimont Square and moved across Fitzroy gardens to 340 Albert Street, East Melbourne.
- Vicdeaf merged with SensWide to provide employment services in 2005.
- In 2014, the Deaf Society celebrated 130 years of service to Deaf and hard of hearing Victorians.
- Vicdeaf Merged with Tasdeaf in 2016 to provide better services across Victoria and Tasmania.
- After consulting heavily with our community and stakeholders in 2018, Vicdeaf and its services rebranded to become Expression Australia, where the people we serve can choose how they want to live their lives. Our legal name is still Victorian Deaf Society, and we continue to acknowledge and pay respects to our roots.
Reference: For more information of our History, John W.Flynn recorded its history in the book “No Longer by Gaslight”. This book can accessed by enquiring at our East Melbourne reception.