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Women's Guild

Deaf Women's Guild

Deaf women had been part of an organisation since 1909 but were officially known as the Deaf Women’s Guild from 1923. The Guild went through several re-organisations in a history spanning many decades, while continuing to serve the Deaf Community through social and fund-raising events.

As early as October 1909, the ‘Deaf Women’s Club’ existed within the Deaf women’s community with Laura Booth and Isabella Molloy as its leaders. By 1922, a ‘Ladies Committee’ was holding fortnightly meetings at the Deaf Society’s old headquarters in Daking House, Sydney with Laura Booth as the Hon Supervisor and B. Young as the Secretary.

In 1927, the club, now called the Deaf Women’s Guild, moved their meetings to the Deaf Society’s new headquarters at No. 5 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. But in 1928, with the controversial appointment of a new welfare officer to the Deaf Society, Mr H.V. Hersee, a split in the community led to the formation of the NSW Association of Deaf and Dumb Citizens. Most of the members of the Deaf Women’s Guild then left the Deaf Society to form  the Deaf Ladies Club within the new organisation. The remaining women who were still involved with the Deaf Women’s Guild continued their activities at No. 5 Elizabeth Street.

The Deaf Ladies Club under the NSW Association of Deaf and Dumb Citizens were very successful in coordinating social and fundraising events, including an ‘Empire Day’ social and dance event and a ‘Floral Fete’ which raised money in support of the NSW Association of Deaf and Dumb Citizens.

In 1937, following the NSW Government’s introduction of the Charity Collections Act (1934),  a successful amalgamation of the two deaf organizations was arranged and the divided deaf women’s groups, Deaf Women’s Guild and Deaf Ladies Club, merged also. Keeping the title of the Deaf Women’s Guild, the first meeting of the amalgamated group elected Laura Booth and Isabella Molloy as joint Presidents, Emma Johnston as Secretary and Isabella Phillips and Marjorie Brigden as Treasurers. Activities for the deaf ladies were resumed. Since then, Deaf women have continued getting together for social functions and outings.

Past Presidents

Alvia Edgar 1923-1927, Minnie Poynder 1928, Laura Booth 1932-1937, Isabella Molloy 1937, Doris Jeanes 1940, Muriel Potter 1941-1945, Iris Taylor 1947-1976, Peggy Kennedy 1977-1981, Iris Goswell 1981, Dorothy Sankey 1982-1986, Morna Power 1987-1988, Margaret Brook 1989-1990, ? , Margo Allen 1994-1996?, Mary Cook (1997-present)

Past Secretaries

Clive Richards 1925-1926, Laura Booth 1927, Dorothy Tucker 1928, Maud Farr 1931, Edna Burgess 1932, Dorothy Griffiths 1932-1936, Emma Johnston 1937, Edna Burgess 1940, Isabella Molloy 1941, Bertha Wilson 1943, Elsie Fairweather 1945, Dorothy Griffiths 1947-, Lesley Spinks 1960-1962, Gladys Barron 1963, Agnes Hutchings 1964-1979, Jean Bartle 1980-1981, Morna Power 1982, Pat Gardiner 1983, 1990, Margaret Brook 1986-1987, Mary Cook 1988-1989, Pat Gardiner 1990, Wanda Stewart 1995, Margaret Ryan 1997

 

Sources

1931 annual report DSNSW

Book ‘Deaf Women’s Guild – 75 Years Celebration’ prepared by Dorothy Sankey

Silent Messenger issuesDeaf Women’s Guild