Skip to main content

Deaf History Collections digital archive launches

The launch of Australia's brand new digital archive Deaf History Collections was a wonderful opportunity for our school students to continue connecting with Deaf history and culture.
Group of young children in NextSense School uniforms standing with their teachers outside an older building. There are trees in the background.
  • Hearing

Some of our NextSense School students recently had the privilege of experiencing a new repository for important Deaf history and cultural materials, including our organisation's own rich heritage, at the launch of the new digital archive Deaf History Collections.

In 1860, our organisation's founder, Thomas Pattison, opened Australia's first school for children who are deaf. And as the country's second-oldest charity we were proud to contribute a range of historical materials to the website.

The first comprehensive online collection of Australian Deaf history brings together historical photos, records and artefacts covering places, artefacts, people, groups and organisations, language, arts and culture, sport, institutions and the state, and First Nations peoples. It was the product of a working group from not-for-profit organisations Deaf Connect and Deaf Australia.

The location of the launch took place at the University of Sydney's Darlington Centre, which was our home for 90 years.

Kellie, a Teacher of the Deaf at NextSense School, says being there was a "truly amazing experience for both the teachers and students".

We were able to walk in the footsteps of our Deaf predecessors and come full circle with the original foundations of where NextSense started. We could see the original buildings and classrooms and it was so special to see the launch take place inside a lecture room that used to be the old dining room! We all felt immersed in the rich history of our Deaf community and were honoured to be included.

— Kellie, Teacher of the Deaf, NextSense School

The event brought together Deaf organisations and community members, along with state and territory representatives. Deaf historian Dr Breda Carty AO, who was a lecturer at what is now NextSense Institute for almost 20 years, and Dr Susannah Lee, were on hand to launch the website.

Dr Breda Carty launching Deaf History Collection. She is standing at the front of a room with a screen behind her and there are people looking on.

Deaf History Collections welcomes contributions to preserving and embracing Deaf history, including suggesting new materials.

Visit the archive

Deaf History Collections

Also in this section

Learn more about NextSense

Back to News and stories