History

Deafness Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable organisation, owes its existence to the commitment and energy of the Honorable Peter Howson assisted by many individuals, including Dame Elisabeth Murdoch. With experience as a Minister in the Federal Parliament and a passion to represent and advance the interests of deaf and hard of hearing Australians, Peter enlisted the support of individuals with expertise in areas as diverse as medicine and education, healthcare and audiology and business and law.

At that time there were many issues confronting the deaf and hard of hearing, testing and diagnosis were not timely or reliable, rubella was very prevalent and not under control and community awareness was low. There was much to be achieved through prevention, early detection, education, treatment and more importantly a coordinated approach.

Thus Deafness Foundation was established in 1974 to act as an umbrella organisation, forum and information exchange and speak with a united voice for the deaf and hard of hearing in the community.

Through the contributions of many hard working individuals the Foundation has achieved many successes over the years, perhaps the most successful has been the work done by the Rubella Committee in significantly reducing the incidents of Congenital Rubella Syndrome in the Australian population. The Foundation has applauded the success of Rubella Education Program which was funded by the Department of Health till December 2014. The hard work has been done and the Program is now closed.

The work of the Foundation today is made possible through the success of the Butterfly Badge Appeal and other fundraising initiatives, the support of volunteers, donors, the community and businesses.

The Foundation was honoured to have Dame Elisabeth Murdoch as its Patron from 1983 till her death in 2012.

The History of the Deafness Foundation has been documented in “Hearing the Need – the Deafness Foundation 1974 to 2006” edited by Ellaine Downie Download an order form.