First established in 1910, Blind Citizens NSW grew out of a loose social network founded by Mr. A. J. Shirley for former pupils of the Darlington School for the Blind facilitating outings, theatre nights and other similar activities for its members. Originally named “Association for the Advancement of the Blind”, its brief soon expanded to include relief of hardship, mutual support and a call for necessary changes in community attitudes and government policies to improve the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired through;
- Compulsory education for blind or vision impaired children
- Income Support/Pensions for people who are blind or vision impaired
- Transport concessions/free travel for people who are blind or vision impaired in NSW/ACT.
In 1957, Blind Citizens NSW purchased the property at 11a Ethel Street, Burwood, naming it “Shirley House.”
From this point on it could expand and increase its services from an easily accessible central location. The association was incorporated in 1993. In 2012, the Shirley House property was sold and Blind Citizens NSW currently operates from the Vision Australia premises at Enfield, Sydney.
Executive Committee Members
Graeme Innes – President
Susan Thompson – Vice President
Krystel Keller – Secretary
Barry Chapman – Treasurer
“I joined Blind Citizens NSW as a university student many years ago, as I came to appreciate the value that collective action could have to improve the situation for people who are blind or vision-impaired.
I learned strategies from other members about how to advocate for myself, and improve the library and transcription services I needed. I also gained excellent support from these members, who – as people who were blind like myself – could appreciate the issues I faced. I have continued to learn from other Association members, and am happy to share my experience and expertise with them, and with others who may join. We are all better off if we work together.” President Graeme Innes AM
“Blind Citizens NSW is an essential service. Their staff members are compassionate, professional and approachable. The Association assisted me when I was denied access with my seeing-eye dog Zeta. The advocacy assistance was an incredible support and we received a positive outcome. I also love their outings. You are able to socialise with like-minded people and learn something at the same time!” Sue-Ann Hanson
“I use the sewing services, I have also use the technology training services. I have always enjoyed the many social get togethers, and made new friends.” Angela Allen