Groups in the Deaf Community
In this section, we describe some of the many organisations of and for deaf people in NSW. As in other places, Deaf people in NSW have a history of creating groups and organisations to pursue their interests and needs – these groups have related to education, sports, advocacy, religion, community services, technology, arts and culture, and many other interests.
Deaf organisations often grew from church and mission beginnings, and religion has always played a significant role in the life of the community.
Political advocacy has been a key tool for advancing Deaf people’s rights. Many organisations have worked for greater Deaf representation, more equal access to education, work and information, and promoting pride in their language and culture.
Deaf people have always been interested in technological innovation, whether as home inventors, or eager users of new communication technology.
NSW was the first state to establish Deaf education in Australia – but one of the last states to make education compulsory for deaf people. Deaf education institutions grew steadily in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries before the shift towards mainstreaming in the late 20th Century.
Committees, guilds, services and clubs – the Deaf Community has always been rich in community spirit.
The Deaf Community is made up of a rich variety of people with a wide range of interests and needs, from theatre groups, to those who are deaf-blind, to hearing children of deaf adults who inherit the language and culture without themselves being deaf.