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www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
As the National Week of Deaf People
approaches, Aurora invited the principal of St
Dominic's Centre for hearing-impaired children
at Mayfield to share something of the history
of the school and extend an invitation to all to
join the celebrations.
When Bishop Murr ay asked the Dominican
Sisters to establish a school for the Deaf
in 1872, a long association with the Deaf
community was bor n within the Diocese
of Maitland-Newcastle. Next year the
diocese will celebr ate 140 year s of providing
specialised education for students who are
Deaf and hard of hearing.
The Dominican Sister s established the
residential school in Perkins Street,
Newcastle, as St Mary's Star of the Sea in
1875. As student number s increased, a new
school was built and established at Waratah
in 1886. The school, which was known by
alter native names including Rosary Convent
School for Deaf Girls and War atah School
for Deaf Girls, was well suppor ted by the
community and the diocese.
One of the founding teachers, Sr M. Gabriel,
who tr avelled from Cabra in Ireland, was
her self profoundly deaf, having contr acted
scarlet fever as a child. Sr M Gabriel had
been both a student and teacher at St
Mary's Dominican School for the Deaf,
Cabr a, and brought with her specialised
teaching methods including Irish finger
spelling and sign language.
The school was renowned as a leader in
Deaf education, enrolling students from all
over Australia as well as New Zealand, the
Solomon Islands and Singapore. The school
has always offered a specialised education
to students of all denominations and from
The diocese built a new school in Mayfield
following the Newcastle earthquake and
the school was renamed St Dominic's in
WEEK OF DEAF PEOPLE
recognition of the work of the Dominican
Sisters. The Mayfield campus has close
proximity to par tner mainstream schools, St
Columban's Primary and San Clemente High
School, allowing for both specialised and
mainstream lear ning for students.
The National Week of Deaf People
(NWDP), held in Australia each
October, is a celebration recognising the
achievements, culture, language and history
of the Deaf and hard of hearing community.
St Dominic's Centre will host a Deaf Pride
morning on Thursday 23 October from
9.30-11.00am, and Bishop Bill will celebrate
Deaf Pride Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral
on Saturday 25 October commencing
AUSLAN interpreting will be available at
both of these events. Ex-students and all
members of the community are welcome
to attend these events.
To learn more E admin@mayfieldsd.
catholic.edu.au and please visit ww w.
For historic photos, visit w w w.flickr.com /
Student Riley brown works with a speech pathologist.
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