Our History

The Early Years

The Royal South Australian Deaf Society, then known as The South Australian Adult Deaf and Dumb Mission were founded by Samuel Johnson in 1891.

Working as the Superintendent of Townsend House (the SA Institute for the Blind and Deaf), he saw a need for support for deaf teenagers who had to leave the services of Townsend House at Brighton once they were 16 years old. The new mission, as well as providing facilities for teenagers, also catered for adults.

The mission was founded to promote the interests of deaf adults by teaching them to help themselves and to make arrangements to apprentice them to suitable trades and other occupations. The first premises were constructed in Wright Street in 1895, but when the number of those supported rose from about 20 in 1901 to well over a hundred by the 1920s, the original premises became too small.

The mission bought a one-acre property that included two double-storey houses to serve as separate hostels for men and women.

The foundation stone for this building was laid in 1927 by the lord mayor Sir Wallace Bruce, and the building was officially opened during a fete on November 17th 1928, by the Governor Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthyen.