Thomas Pattison, a deaf migrant to Australia from Scotland, established the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in 1860. We’ve been making a difference in the lives of people with hearing loss and vision impairment ever since.
RIDBC officially expands its services to Victoria through merging with Early Education Program for Hearing Impaired Children (EEP) and Taralye – an early intervention, preschool and audiological service provider.
RIDBC ENT surgeon, Professor Catherine Birman, wins the 2017 New South Wales Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year. She is one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world, having performed over 1,000 cochlear implant surgeries.
Professor Gibson becomes the first surgeon in the world to perform 2000 cochlear implant surgeries, making him one of the most prolific surgeons in his field and a world leader in cochlear implantation.
In response to community needs, RIDBC establishes the Roberta Reid Centre, an Auslan preschool for deaf children and hearing children of deaf parents for whom Australian Sign Language (Auslan) is their first language.
Regional services begin. A pre-school providing Early Childhood services in the Hunter Region, named The Tingira Centre, opens as RIDBC’s first major regional undertaking. The Itinerant Teaching Service – where specific support is given to students with hearing loss and/or vision impairment from independent schools – is established.
Early Childhood outreach services, home programs and mainstream schooling commence. Garfield Barwick School at North Parramatta is officially opened by New South Wales Premier, Nick Greiner. The new school provides an oral program for profoundly deaf and hard of hearing children.
Professor Bill Gibson operates on four-year-old Holly McDonell, the first child in the world to receive a bionic ear. This bold step enables children around the world to receive the gift of hearing and speech.
Braille goes digital. The first computerised Braille production unit in Australia is established at the Institute. Today, RIDBC continues to produce Braille, large print and tactile diagrams for students, supporting over 400 children who are blind or have low vision.
Harold Earlam introduces new techniques for teaching deaf children, improves access to braille equipment and teaching for blind students, and begins an important campaign for the compulsory education of deaf and blind children.