Who are we?

The Deafness Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, was founded in 1973 by the Hon. Peter Howson to act as an umbrella organisation, forum and information exchange and hopefully speak with a united voice for the Deaf and hearing impaired in the Community.

The Foundation today is dedicated to the support of the Deaf and hearing impaired through research, prevention, education, early detection and technology.

The Foundation was honoured to have Dame Elisabeth Murdoch as its Patron till her death in 2012. In 2012, two of our previous Trustees, Professor Geoffrey Blainey and Professor Field Rickards were appointed as Governors of the Foundation.

A Board of Directors governs the operations of the Foundation and five part-time staff are employed. The services of the Foundation are made possible through the success of the Butterfly Badge Campaign and other fundraising initiatives, the support of volunteers, donors, the community, businesses and a government financial grant, which supports the position of a Rubella Education Officer.

Objectives of the Foundation

  • To promote communication and understanding between all agencies and individuals involved in the field of hearing impairment

  • To provide financial and other assistance to people with hearing impairment and to organisations working in the field of hearing impairment

  • To promote research into all aspects of hearing impairment and its prevention and into the needs of people with hearing impairment

  • To acquire and publish information and to undertake community education programs about hearing impairment, its prevention and the needs of people with hearing impairment

  • To work in conjunction with other state, national and international organisations with similar objectives

  • To represent the interests of people with hearing impairment at individual, community, municipal, semi-government and government (both State and Federal) levels

  • To raise funds to support the activities of the Foundation

  • To maintain an administrative structure to support the activities of the Foundation.

The Board

The Directors of the Board have a broad range of skills, experience and knowledge both serving as directors of the Deafness Foundation and in the field of Deafness and hearing impairment.
  • Ms Karin Gillies
Vice Presidents
  • Assoc. Professor Gary Rance
  • Mr Paul O'Halloran
Honorary Treasurer
  • Mr Simon Wood
  • Mr Lyall Clewer 
  • Ms Marie Fram 
  • Mr Noel Henderson 
  • Mrs Lisa-Jane Moody 
  • Assoc. Professor Brian Pyman 
  • Ms Zoe Williams 


To assist in achieving the objectives of the Foundation working committees, consisting of experts in their respective fields, have been established.

Note that clicking on a committee name below will bring up more information about that committee.

  • Mr Simon Wood
  • Ms Karin Gillies
  • Ms Marie Fram
Hearing Awareness
  • Ms Zoe Williams

Deafness Foundation Trust

The Deafness Foundation Trust was launched in October 1993 with similar aims to the Foundation but with three significant differences:

      1. All donations are held in perpetuity and only the interest is used
      2. Has the right to raise and distribute funds outside Victoria
      3. Administered by the Trust Company of Australia.

Our logo: The butterfly

Several years ago Judy Chancellor, one of our valued volunteers, was astounded when she learnt that butterflies were deaf. She thought the butterfly would be a wonderful logo for the Deafness Foundation in its quest to raise funds to help the Deaf and hearing impaired community. Judy also designed a butterfly badge, which has been marketed for numerous years and has become a major source of fundraising income. The popularity of these badges continues to grow each year and they have become a "collectors item" for many.

"Butterflies are deaf too!"