A history of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind 1866-2004




НазваниеA history of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind 1866-2004
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Chapter 5


The sixth decade of the twentieth century at the Blind Institute began with plans for a new school campus in Burwood. At St Kilda Road, the presence of children and adults on the same site had always posed a dilemma for the Committee and executive. The advantage of its being easy to make the transition from school to factory if you were on site was counterbalanced by the fact that such ease did not make for independence. As well, the factories and school were both expanding and needed more room. Doubtless, the experience of open space at Olinda had affected everyone. For many of the children, returning to St Kilda Road had been a far from pleasant experience, although it did bring them back to Melbourne. Land had been bought on Burwood Road for a school, now came the task of raising the money to build it.


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A tribute to Norman Banks


'On 15 September 1985, Melbourne said farewell to one of its finest sons, Norman Banks, distinguished radio personality, distinguished citizen ….


'In 1943, Norman composed The Melbourne Carol. It was performed each year until 1951 at "Carols by Candlelight". His lyrics are a true reflection of his religious convictions and community spirit.


'Thank you, Norman Banks, from the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and the people of Melbourne.'


The Melbourne Carol


Yuletide in Melbourne means mass jubilation,

And Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve;

Thousands assemble in glad dedication,

To hail Him with joy and the vow, 'I believe'.


I do believe in Christ Jesus as Master,

Whose teachings infallibly point us the way,

Showing how heaven on earth is wide open

To all who forsake futile idols of clay.


In all our carols rejoicing we praise Him,

For blessings dependent on His loving hand;

Only His grace and ineffable guidance

Will keep us deserving of this Sunny land.


Here we abide in a most favoured country

Providing us all with abundance of life,

Knowing devotion to Him will ensure us

The right to possession and freedom from strife.


Join and rejoice with us, people of Melbourne,

Inspiring mankind by our faith as we sing,

Honouring Jesus whom this celebration

Acclaims as Omnipotent, Merciful King.

From 'Carols by Candlelight' program.


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A new source of funds was found in 1949 in the 'Carols by Candlelight' broadcast on Radio Station 3KZ. In pre-television days, families sat around the radio every night for entertainment, and 3KZ was one of the most popular stations. Mr S. Morgan, the Managing Director of the station, was 'so attracted by the work and needs of the Institute'1 that he decided it should share in the proceeds of the popular Festival and Christmas Day Appeal, organised and conducted by Norman Banks. The other beneficiary of the Appeal was the Austin Hospital. As a result of Morgan's decision, the Institute received pounds 7,543. The amount was earmarked for the new nursery and school on Burwood Road. This was the first of such broadcasts/telecasts that have occurred annually since.


A Blind Workers' Retiring Fund was set up during 1949-50 and managed by two representatives each of the Blind Workers' Welfare Committee, the Blind People's Social Club and Blind Workers' Union. The Chairman was Mr E. Sims. The Fund's Managing Committee raised pounds 726 in its first year. The amount was subsidised by pounds 500 from the Board and pounds 530 was paid out to retiring workers. A year later the scheme was redesigned so that all workers could be offered retirement at the age of sixty-five.


At the age of 65 years (or earlier if medically unfit) workers receive six months' leave of absence for 20 years' service (and proportionately more if they have had a longer period of service) on a guaranteed income of pounds 8/7/6 a week, inclusive of the Commonwealth Pension …


After their retiring leave has been enjoyed they will receive the undermentioned incomes in retirement:-


Married Workers - pounds 2/10/– from the Institute; pounds 2/10/– Commonwealth Pension (which is paid to them by the Institute if they are ineligible to draw same); pounds 2/10/–, either from the Institute or Commonwealth Pension for the wife; a total of pounds 7/10/– weekly. Single men in retirement (after their service leave) receive pounds 4/10/– per week.2


No mention was made of single or widowed women getting anything. But according to Reuben Ryan (President of the Blind Workers' Union from 1966 to 1973), they were given some form of benefit.3 Twelve workers accepted the offer in the first year, including one (unnamed) who had worked there for fifty-six years.


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There were also two 'sightless' Welfare Officers, Mr W. Casey and Mrs F. Cann. Their brief was described as relieving 'the Management of the anxiety of wondering if sick and needy cases are receiving the necessary care'. As well, there was 'Miss Mabel Smart [herself a person who was blind], who kindly assists these Officers on all matters concerning the welfare of blind women'.4 It is impossible to tell if Miss Smart was paid for her services.


The Annual Ball held by the Blind People's Social Club was attended in this year for the first time by His Excellency, the Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks. Four hundred and fifty students, workers, clients and their friends were present.


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Institute concert parties had now been a Melbourne event for nearly thirty years. They drew capacity houses and likewise the orchestra, under the leadership of Richard Sutcliffe, when it played in the Melbourne Town Hall for its six-weekly concert season.5 A profit of pounds 8,870 was made on the concerts in the 1950-51 season.


The Auxiliaries made pounds 18,527 during the twelve months ending 31 March 1951. The Institute's Auxiliary movement was the largest women's organisation in Australia.


In October 1951 an Australian National Conference of Institutions for the Blind was held at the behest of Stan Hedger. The organisations present were: the industrial institutions of every State, the Braille Society for the Blind of Western Australia, the Victorian Association for the Advancement of the Blind, the Victorian Association of Braille Writers, the Victorian Villa Maria Society for the Blind, the Australian Blinded Soldiers Association and the Federal Council of Blind Unions. Several of the industrial institutions present had schools attached to them for people who were blind or vision impaired.


Among the items discussed and recommended, the most important was probably the establishment of an Australian National Council for the Blind, to attend to matters of national policy. A provisional National Council Executive Committee was elected with Stan Hedger as its President, Charles


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Cornish from Western Australia, G.R. Fowler and P.J. Lynch from Victoria as Vice Presidents, and K.R. Bunn from Victoria as Secretary and Treasurer.


The Director of the Commonwealth Office of Education, Professor R.C. Mills, was asked by the World Council for the Blind to nominate a leading director for people who were blind or vision impaired to attend an International Conference on Blind Youth to be held in Holland in 1952. Hedger was nominated.6


The 'Carols by Candlelight' festival of 1951 raised pounds 10,500 towards the Burwood school.


Interestingly, in this year the Institute decided to employ as managers of placement and welfare services people who were blind or vision impaired. Sid Daly, who had accompanied W. Casey on visits to factories in the previous year, was appointed Placement Officer. Bert Spencer was appointed Industrial Officer. Articles appeared in various publications promoting workers who were blind or vision impaired. They recommended an inspection of the Institute factories so that prospective employers could see first-hand how well workers performed.7


Pentridge Aid for the Blind


'A class of 12 prisoners at Pentridge Gaol has been responsible in the past year for transcribing 63 volumes in Braille for the free lending library for the blind, South Yarra.


The names of two, whose work totalled more than 40 volumes, were placed on the honour roll presented at the annual meeting of the Victorian Association of Braille Writers last night …'

(Source: Age, 26 June 1953, p. 3.)


Suddenly in 1953 there was a new Superintendent, Kenneth R. Bunn. A few paragraphs in the 1953 Annual Report note that Mr S.W. Hedger MBE had been Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for thirty-two years and that his most recent world activity was as representative of the Australian National Council for the Blind and the Commonwealth Department of Education at a conference held in Bussum, Holland. The Board thanked itself for giving him the opportunity to attend and hoped that 'Mr Hedger may have many


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years ahead in which to enjoy his well-earned rest from a lifetime of unbounded activity for the welfare of the sightless'.8


No farewell dinner or celebration of any kind was mentioned. According to Jack Murphy, who had been at the Institute since 1917 and known Hedger since the Union days of the 1930s, Hedger was 'framed' by Bennett, who was President and Honorary Medical Officer of the Institute. In fact, Hedger's demise had a less sensational cause. He had simply tried too hard to impress. Around the time of the 1952 conference in Holland, Hedger, while in London, had gone to meet Norman Banks, the producer of 'Carols by Candlelight', who was also in the British capital on business. Hedger had arrived at the meeting in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. On Banks's return to Australia, he reported the incident on his radio program, 'World in My Diary'.9 His implication was that Hedger was living high on Institute money. This must have outraged the Board, because Bennett confronted Hedger with the allegation when he returned. Hedger was, in effect, forced to resign. Apparently he would have preferred to take Bennett to court, but the pounds 4,000 legal fee was prohibitive. He tried to get the support of the Hospitals and Charities Commission, but met with no success. Not long after, in 1955, the Charities Commission Secretary, H.N. Acklom, became Superintendent and Secretary (CEO) of the Blind Institute. According to Jack Murphy, 'Acklom was an absolute tragedy, didn't do anything that wasn't noted in the minutes of the Board.'10 Additionally, Murphy felt that a strike by workers in 1956 had largely been provoked by Acklom. In 1954, Charles Bennett also took on the role of President of the Australian National Council for the Blind. And in August of that year it was he who attended a prestigious meeting of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind in Paris.11


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In the interim, Hedger had been replaced as President of the Australian National Council for the Blind, as well. His replacement there was P.J. Lynch. The Council's Secretary was Kenneth R. Bunn, who would become CEO at the Institute for two years preceding Acklom,12 before leaving under some-thing of a cloud.13


According to the 1955 Annual Report, both Dr Bennett (President) and Mr Leighton Irwin (Vice President) had made world tours in the previous year, to study the treatment of problems affecting people who were blind or vision impaired. Irwin went to 'schools, buildings, factories in England, Scandinavia, Germany and America, with a special emphasis on educational facilities'. Dr Bennett went to leading centres in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, 'and in England the itinerary included factories, schools and rehabilitation centres under the aegis of the Royal National Institute for the Blind'. While in the USA, Bennett obtained two scholarships - for a year's study with board and lodging at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind and at Hunter College.14 Bennett's travels also took him to the World Assembly of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind at UNESCO House, Paris. There he was elected to the Executive Committee, where he no doubt enjoyed the benefits that had formerly been accorded to Stan Hedger.


Despite record fund-raising, 1956 proved to be a difficult year for the staff and Board of the Institute, in a range of different ways. In the 1956/57 financial year, the Auxiliaries raised pounds 33,302. As ever, 'Carols by Candlelight' also brought in a large sum - this year, pounds 21,844. The Building Fund for the school and nursery at Burwood stood at pounds 145,106. But building plans that had been finalised had to be altered because of the establishment, unanticipated at the Institute, of a new Catholic institution. It was feared that following the inauguration of St Paul's School for the Blind, there would be a reduction in the number of children attending the planned Institute school. Two former Institute students, it was noted, Joan Ryan (BA) and Hugh Jeffrey (Mus. Bac.), were on the staff at St Paul's.


Another high-priority issue at the Institute was the placement of workers in outside industry. Two very capable people were employed to do this, Sid Daly and W. Casey, and their efforts met with great success. Sid Daly was also the President of the Blind Workers' Union. Maybe it was his success at placing


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workers in factories outside the Institute that empowered him to take even bolder steps on behalf of all workers who were blind or vision impaired.


On 28 April 1956, an article appeared in the Age with the heading:


Basic Wage Plan for the Blind


Payment of the basic wage to all blind is to be sought by the Trades Hall Council …


Blind workers from the Blind Institute met yesterday at the Trades Hall and asked T.H.C. officers to support their claims for the basic wage.


The assistant secretary of the council (Mr M.C. Jordan) said that if the Blind Institute could not afford to pay the basic wage, then it was up to the Government to shoulder the responsibility …15


The Blind Institute responded by docking the wages of all workers who had attended the meeting. However, Dr Bennett, President of the Institute, claimed he had never authorised the wage docking16 and in fact the pay was restored.17


The push for the basic wage continued, and in August Dr Bennett said he was not opposed to paying the basic wage but was worried that the future of the Institute would be endangered if it went ahead.18 Workers then held a protest meeting at Ormond Hall, where Daly said that the meeting had been forced on them because of the Institute's Board of Management's refusal to


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give their claims a hearing. The union secretary (Mr R.J. Lightfoot) said: 'All of us - teachers, transcribers, ticket sellers, piano tuners, brush workers and everybody - know we are facing a vital question of principle.


'Are we to be treated as workers or are we unwanted charges? The board says we should be seen and not heard. It is time we made ourselves heard.'19


Three days later it was reported that Bennett had done everything possible to approach workers, that the Board had an industrial committee to deal with such matters and that workers' representatives should meet with this committee. Bennett alleged that the workers had refused to meet it until their claim was settled.20 Then the Guild for Professional Blind stepped in, circulating an appeal to change the personnel of the Board. George Findlay (President of the Guild) and Neil Westh (Secretary) stated that they were sponsoring five candidates, three of whom were blind or vision impaired, for election to the Board 'next Wednesday'. They said that widespread dissatisfaction with the Board's handling of urgent problems, such as the basic wage issue, had led to this action. They also signalled that thirty people had resigned from the nursing and house staff in the previous eighteen months.21


According to both Jack Murphy and David Blyth, who were working there during this period, the ageing Board and Superintendent Acklom's 'incompetence' had a great deal to do with this state of affairs.22


The Association for the Advancement of the Blind also became involved in the dispute. It called on the Institute to include on its Board people who were blind and contrasted the Institute's Board with its own, which already had as its representatives both people who were blind and people who were sighted. Association President, Bruce Small, was quoted in the Age: 'An organisation like this must have blind representatives to truly serve and help the blind.' Strangely, the same newspaper column stated that the Blind Workers' Union was not seeking to place any of its members on the Institute's Board of Management. As an organisation representing 160 workers who were blind or vision impaired, it instead wanted its arguments to be brought before a special advisory panel that would ultimately report to the Board. The Union's Secretary, R. Lightfoot, said that the Guild of Professional Blind, which wanted elected to the Board members who were blind or vision impaired, was speaking on behalf of a minority of workers at the Institute.23 Although that year the Guild had no success in getting elected to the Board a


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candidate who was blind or vision impaired, the following year its intended result was achieved. Lawrence McCredie became the first such member on the Institute Board. And so an assurance by the Institute was made good that its next Board vacancy would be filled by a person who was blind or vision impaired. Lawrence McCredie was twenty-eight years old, a Duntroon Military College graduate who had lost his sight and an arm while demonstrating explosives to National Service Trainees at Puckapunyal. He was still working for the Army and preparing to study law.24 His appointment was front-page news in the Age, along with the announcement of a loss of pounds 600,000 on the 1956 Melbourne Olympics by the Olympic Games Committee.


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The Institute did start paying the basic wage in 1957, though no formal mention was ever made of this fact - or indeed of any aspect of the dispute - in the Annual Reports.25


On the other hand, a whole page in the 1958 Annual Report was devoted to Alberta Tutton's first retirement as President of the Council of Auxiliaries on 28 August 1957. Tutton had been involved in the Auxiliary movement since 1930 when Stan Hedger had been Superintendent. She was also a member of the Board, and of the House Committee and Education Committee. Further, she was President of the Alberta Group, a member of the General Committee of the Community Mart (set up for Institute workers to


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buy tobacco and groceries) and Chairman of its Shop Management Committee. Jess Blyth (née Reiter), who worked at the Institute's brush shop in the 1950s and had previously attended the school, remembered her as a large woman, wearing diamonds and wrapped in furs, who wielded great influence. Tutton did not in fact retire and no reason was given for the continuation of her presidency into the next year and beyond. She was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1959. A Tutton Cup was established to entice young women into the Auxiliaries and they formed Junior Auxiliaries and competed to see who could raise the most money. The Annual Fair, lasting over three days and held on the Institute grounds, had become a huge fund-raiser, netting pounds 2,215 in 1959. The children at the school were not allowed to roam the grounds at this time. The total raised by the Auxiliaries in 1958-59 was pounds 37,377.


On 4 February 1958, Alexander Marks arrived at the school as a student. The Annual Report states that he was the first Aboriginal child enrolled, but there had been another in 1888. Wanda (no surname given) was admitted at the age of fourteen after a fall from a horse. She left the Institute in 1892.25


In March 1958, the Queen Mother drove past the school in a cavalcade down St Kilda Road and stopped to accept flowers from seven-year-old student, Margaret Oliphant.26


In 1959 the Institute's factories finally began to move into modern production. Reg Sturgeon was employed as factory manager and he set up new enterprises, such as food packaging. The Institute became a member of the Plastics Institute of Australia and employed many staff on the assembly of toys and other small articles. David Blyth, a factory worker during this time and also a sometime member of the Board, remembers:


I started with RVIB in January 1957, came to Melbourne from Brisbane … I was told by the then Superintendent that I should go back to Queensland because each state should look after their own and he didn't see why Victorians should look after Queenslanders. However after about four months and heavy negotiating, particularly with the Blind Workers' Union here in Melbourne, the position was changed and I started work here. I started in the mat shop, almost at the end of the era of what was known as the 'traditional trades'. Within the next two years, there were wholesale changes within the Institute in the forms of employment, the


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school went from here to Burwood, the Welfare Department was expanded, and a chap by the name of Reg Sturgeon was employed as the factory manager (1959), his role being to introduce new types of employment for blind people within the workshops. The basket shop would have been the first one to fold, and then the millet shop and brush shop followed not long after, and in their place was brought in packaging and assembly; very basic type of work. We established what was known as the Food Packaging Department. We packed sugar, small packets of foods such as nuts, dried peas and jellies. The work wasn't too bad because there was a degree of skill in it, we had operators on the machines, the bags needed to be folded and stuck down properly. It was a good type of work in that people could be working together and talking at the same time, the social element was high, the workplace could have a good atmosphere. However it was the time when automation was coming into the food packaging industry and we were sort of in a bridging area.


As soon as we left the traditional trades we went off piece work. Award wages were pounds 15 2s 6d, more than the basic wage of pounds 12 a week. We could pack the sugar at about 2 ton an hour, that was in 2lb, 4lb and 6lb bags (1, 2 and 3kg bags) and needed a crew of five people to do that. We had four crews working … lasted at that for about three-and-a-half years. It was excellent training for a lot of our workers because they had never worked on an assembly line type operation before so most of the people who did that ended up going to work in open industry. So that was good.


The food packaging lasted longer, this was done mostly for small wholesaling firms that would have a number of smaller retail outlets to sell through like a cash and carry, or 'self-serve' as they were known in those days (around 1964-65), and then the Safeways came in and the big chains like that. That did away with the smaller wholesalers, so we went out of that business as well. At the same time we still had the mat shop going. They didn't make matting anymore but still made frame mats and loom mats and continued beyond 1991.27


In the same interview, Blyth mentioned some of the other momentous changes that took place in the late 1950s, among them the removal of the school to the forty-two-acre grounds at Burwood late in 1959. The Governor


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of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, unveiled the school's commemoration plaque on 16 April. Nine hundred people attended the ceremony, including members of the Auxiliaries, the Australian National Council for the Blind and Radio Station 3KZ, as well as workers, children and staff from the Institute. The Minister for Health was there too and the orchestra played.28


The buildings consisted of the school, nursery and accommodation for the children (it was a residential school), as well as accommodation for resident staff and a house for the headmaster. The Trade Union movement raised pounds 26,486 towards the cost of a Physical Education block, which included a swimming pool and gym.29 The official opening ceremony, attended by two thousand people, occurred on 8 March 1961.


The headmaster, Mr A.H. Dovey, was sent on an observational tour of schools for people who were blind and vision impaired, in the United States, Britain and Holland. In New York, Dr M.E. Frampton organised for him to visit sixty organisations providing education and welfare for people who were blind or vision impaired.30


Ormond Hall was renovated and redecorated at this time. Its kitchen was remodelled and a dishwashing machine installed. The Blind People's Social Club still held its Friday night dances there. Many big firms held their annual ball at the venue too, bringing in valuable income and keeping up the profile of the Institute. In 1960 a highlight was the Olympic Ball, organised to assist the weight lifting section of the Australian Olympic team. This came about


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because the manager of the weight lifting and gymnastic teams was E.J. Hanlon, a former Institute student who had also worked in the factories there. Hanlon was President of the Australian Amateur Weight Lifters' Federation and Vice President of the Inter-national Amateur Weight Lifters' Federation.31


A memorial plaque was installed at the Hall for David Palmer, who had taught music at the Institute for forty years before passing away in 1955.


Of the many resources provided by the Blind Institute, one of the most important was the Talking Book Library, which by 1960 was servicing 250 people throughout Victoria. The Postmaster General's Department bore the cost of sending out the materials in special containers. A new version of the books had been developed by Lord Nuffield and the Chief Recording Engineer for Decca. It consisted of half-inch tape recordings using up to eighteen tracks. The tape was housed in a cassette and played on a machine the size of a portable gramophone.32 This was the predecessor of the later cassette machine.


Soon after the school opened in Burwood, a Deaf-Blind Centre was established there. Accommodation was provided within the school and two children took up residence in 1963, becoming its first 'clients' - a term first used to describe a beneficiary of Blind Institute services in the Annual Report of 1963-64. A scholarship from the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts, generously enabled a teacher from the Institute to be trained in the United States to better assist these students.33


Another first for Australia chalked up by the Blind Institute was the establishment of the Residential Rehabilitation Centre for Blind Adults. In the preliminary phase of establishing the Centre, the Board had sought advice


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from the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind. As a result Richard E. Hoover, an instructor in Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University, visited Melbourne and gave instruction on using the long cane. A First Rehabilitation Conference was held during his Melbourne visit, attended by one hundred workers and representatives in the area of welfare for people who were blind or vision impaired. Hoover's major undertaking was to train three people who were sighted to act as trainers in mobility.34 The long cane has been used in Australia ever since.


The Rehabilitation Centre offered temporary accommodation and devised individual programs for its clients. Activities available included ten-pin bowling, swim-ming, ballroom dancing, musical appreciation, cosmetics and fashion,


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cooking, sewing, laundering and ironing, typewriting, home repairs, cricket, manual dexterity activities and public speaking.35 David Blyth provides a real insight into how Rehabilitation worked:


The decision was made by the Board at the time that we would go into rehabilitation, appointing Ralph Lightfoot (who was totally blind) as the first manager (the smartest thing the Board could have done). He knew what blind people were capable of and he was advocating independence. He installed a completely non-trained staff which he molded with his own ideas of what could be achieved. The first Orientation and Mobility (O&M) school in Australia started at RVIB and brought out Dr Hoover from the USA for six weeks. He trained two people to teach orientation and mobility and that's how long [ago] cane training started in Australia.


Lightfoot was very enthusiastic with this training method and used mobility to get the angry young accident victims back on track. Ray Whiting was a new trainee trainer. Ray had been an assistant foreman in our brush shop here. He did the O&M training here and then went to Malaysia for more training and qualifications in a three-month course that was being run there. Ray used to have these young guys running around Albert Park Lake, things that were


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virtually unheard of in those days for rehabilitation. Ray was a fanatic on fitness himself so he brought them skiing, rock climbing and all those sort of things. All these were used to try and get people back on the track. Quite revolutionary at the time, but we all just took it for granted. I participated as a spectator and went along to some of the camps. We went along to give peer support as blind people, to try and help break down that anger and frustration that some of these people were feeling … what it comes down to is, I think, the Institute accepted at that time that it was blind people that would help blind people to handle their difficulties.36


This was a period in which terrible injuries - including blindness - were caused by road accidents, because there were many fast cars, few seat-belts and no seat-belt laws.


Much was made from this time onwards of the achievements of people who obtained work or engaged in study outside the Institute. Some were employed as receptionists or in factories, others went on to secondary education in other schools. In all cases, preparation for a career was a key factor.


H.N. Acklom was replaced as Executive Director by Frank Turley in 1963. Not a word was said about Acklom's departure in the Annual Report.


In 1965 the basket workshop closed down and the manufacture of brushes and millet brooms was reduced. Mat making continued. One hundred workers were engaged in packaging and assembly work. In February, a full-time Employment Officer replaced S. Daly, who had himself obtained work outside the Institute.


The Blind Institute prepared for its Centenary by planning a Conference on Education and Medical Care for Blind Children, to be held at Ormond Hall on 21 August 1966. The Conference was to be led by Dr Merle E. Frampton, Professor of Education at Hunter College, New York, and Chief Executive of the New York Institute for Education of the Blind, New York City.


A public appeal was also planned, the proceeds of which would go to three principal projects of benefit to people who were blind or vision impaired: the education and medical care of children, the establishment of a Geriatric Unit, and research into the prevention of blindness.37


About a thousand people were now being visited by the Institute's Welfare


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Officers every year and six hundred mostly elderly people used the Talking Book Library. Like the school and Rehabilitation Centre, these services were supplied to users free of charge.


The setting-up of an aids and equipment room was the first sign of the technological revolution that would change the lives of people who were vision impaired over the next forty years. Initially this resource made audio and optical aids available, but eventually its product range would extend to computers and Braille writers which enabled clients to take on all kinds of work previously denied them.


During 1965-66 forty men and women were employed in industries outside the Institute. There they worked as storemen, assembly workers, messengers, telephonists, telephone sales people, cabinetmakers, press operators, cleaners, darkroom operators and optical technicians.38


Total expenditure (now in dollars) for the year ended 30 June 1966 amounted to $620,142. Broken down into constituent categories, this sum was spent in the following way: $177,637 for the residential nursery and school; $80,497 for the factory; $35,337 for the residential Rehabilitation Centre; $20,741 for the Talking Book Library, $183,773 for welfare, including wage supplementation, retired allowances, hostels, Braille transcription service and so forth; $42,991 for building alterations, maintenance and depreciation; and $79,166 for public relations, education, publications and fund-raising.


The total income for the same period was $609,073. This sum derived from the following sources: $11,000 from the government grant; $191,573 from donations, of which $124,662 from general sources and $66,911 from the Auxiliaries ($80,259 gross from the Auxiliaries less $13,348 expenses); a hefty $303,137 from bequests and other sources including investments; and $103,363 from the letting of Ormond Hall. For the year there was therefore a total deficit if $11,069.39


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