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Robert Dey

23 Rev Dr Robert Dey.jpg

Rev Dr Robert Dey

The Reverend Dr Robert Dey was born in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, in Scotland in 1848. He married Elizabeth Johnstone Dewar and they had nine children together, of whom only six survived infancy. He and his family left London for Melbourne on the Lusitania in 1880.

After two years in Melbourne, Dey became a pastor at Marrickville Congregational Church in Sydney. He later became Secretary of the NSW Congregational Union. He was one of the best known ministers in Australia and received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the University of Edinburgh in 1923.

Although we do not know what influenced Dey (a hearing man) to become interested in deaf people, he was one of the founders of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of NSW in 1913 and remained active on the Society’s Board for the rest of his life. He was the Vice-President of the Society when he died in Sydney on 31 July 1936 at the age of 88. His funeral service was held at the Pitt-Street Congregational Church and was interpreted by Miss Ella Doran.

It seems that Robert Dey’s family inherited his interest in the Deaf Community. His son, David Dewar Dey (1879-1957), was actively associated with the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of NSW for almost 40 years as a member of the Board of Management, as Chairman, and as Hon. Treasurer. John Dey, the grandson of Robert Dey, was also a member of the Society's Board of Management.  In 1941, Alice Dewar Dey, the granddaughter of Robert Dey, married Kenneth Tribe, who was President of the Deaf Society from 1969 to 1982. It was Alice’s father, David Dey, who introduced Kenneth Tribe to the organisation.

Dey House, an extension of Gordon-Davis House Hostel at Stanmore, was opened in 1957, commemorating the combined 61 years of work by Robert and David Dey for the Society. Dey House was eventually demolished when the Stanmore Deaf Centre was built in the 1970s.


Sources  family trees

Silent Messenger Sep 1957  043

SMH 3 Apr 1934 Trove

SMH 28 Mar 1938 Trove

SMH 5 Aug 1930 Trove

SMH 26 Aug 1927 Trove

SMH 8 Jul 1928 Trove

SMH 31 Jul 1936 Trove