Wyadra Hostel, run by the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution, opened in New Town in 1952. It was initially for children with partial hearing and later for those with no hearing. The Hostel closed in 1957.
Wyadra Hostel opened officially on 21 April 1952 in Clare Street, New Town.
The Institute for the Blind and the Deaf, formerly the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution, ran the Hostel with the help of a government subsidy. The government also provided the house.
Since 1948, children with partial hearing had been going to special classes in lip reading and speech at New Town State School. In 1950, they began attending ordinary classes at the School. Before Wyadra Hostel opened the children lived at the Tasmanian Institute for the Blind and the Deaf with other children who had no hearing. When they returned to the Institute at night they used sign language to communicate with the others. In July and August 1949, Professor Alexander Ewing and Dr Irene Ewing, advocates of the oral method of teaching from Manchester University, visited Tasmania. The Ewings believed that living at the Institution inhibited the progress of the partially deaf children. They recommended separate accommodation to force them to use speech and lip reading all the time.
Joy Smith writes that the separation of children who were partially deaf from those that were deaf showed that:
little attempt was made to understand the bicultural and bilingual needs of prelingually deaf children, nor was there any realization that the deaf and partially deaf might be able to give each other mutual support. By accepting the prevailing philosophy and adopting the Ewings' recommendation for the partially deaf, the Institute was to leave the deaf children even more isolated than before.
Four girls had moved from the Institute to Wyadra by 1951. It opened with 12 or 13 children in 1952. The Hostel was used for children with partial hearing until 1956. Then they moved back to Lewis Street and children with total deafness moved into Wyadra where they were taught in a special classroom at the Hostel. The aim was to integrate them into an ordinary primary school at a later date.
In 2013, Relationships Australia occupies the site of Wyadra Hostel.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Partly deaf kiddies to move into special hostel', The Mercury, 27 July 1951, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27043174; 'Deaf children aided in hostel', 22 April 1952, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27074244; 'Hostel opening', The Mercury, 22 April 1952, p. 2, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27074126; 'Hostel will open after Easter', 28 March 1952, p. 6, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27085456; Smith, Elizabeth Joy, Time is the builder: a history of the Royal Tasmanian Society for the Blind and Deaf, 1887-1987, Elizabeth Joy Smith, Hobart, 1989, 190 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 19 October 2012, Last modified: 15 February 2019