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Posts from the ‘Deaf Children Australia’ Category

From the History Books

Today is the last Friday of the month and time for another post on Deaf Children Australia.  I know I had previously stated that I was going to go back and take more photos, well it hasn’t happened.  I don’t know what has happened with the time in the last month.  It has vanished.  So today I thought I would do something a little different.  I was lent a book about the history of the school, “The History of the Victorian School For Deaf Children” by J.H. Burchett, MBE, published in 1964, and I have’t read all of it, but there are lots of photos in it.

I have wanted to show photos of how the school used to be, a different time, a different way of life, but it has been hard to get access to the old photos, so today I thought I would show you a gallery of images from the book. I scanned them for you.  They aren’t great, you can see that they are from a book because of some crazy grid stuff, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it was like.  There are images from when the school first started and into the 20th century.  I left the explanation under each photo so that should help explain them to you.

There is also a DVD that has been produced, it is called “Behind the Bluestone” and is full of footage from the school and stories by people who went there.  It is very inexpensive at $15 and a great way to support Deaf Children Australia.  If you are interested in purchasing it then you should go to this link, click here.

Don’t forget you can also donate money to Deaf Children Australia and there is a donate button on their website.

Finding Where I am at DCA

It is the last day of the month, and it also happens to be a Friday.  I have been racking my brain trying to work out what to do with the bluestone on St Kilda Road that belongs to Deaf Children Australia.  I haven’t been there this year yet, as I am finding when I do go there, I am taking the same sort of photos each time.  I need to find a way to do something different.

I have subscribed to KelbyOne and am keen to start learning, but one thing that I have learned so far is that there are other ways of doing architectural photography, and I think it is time I worked on that.  I have realised that I could use the bluestone, one to get even better photos of it for them, but also to help me learn to get better architectural shots.  My goal now is to try going there at different times, and seeing what I can get.  You know, I always thought I had to get everything in one shot, I don’t know why it never occurred to me that it wasn’t necessary.

So for today, I am going to show you a gallery of images taken in the last twelve months.  I know you have seen them before, but I thought it could be a great way to start, look at before, and see where I go from here. Then this coming month I am going to get over there and get some new images, see what I can come up with that is different, well I hope it will be.

Different Angles on a Bluestone

When I got my new camera a few months ago, I think many of you will remember how much fun I was having with the 14-24mm lens on the full framed Nikon D800.  I have shown you some of the photos that I took of the bluestone building that belongs to Deaf Children Australia.  It is fantastic to have a building like this to go to and take photos of anytime I like really.


One of the things that is fantastic about that lens is that it allows you to get angles that wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.  Though not with the photo above, this is a fairly standard image.  I have played with it some.  Trying to make the image look like it was older, or maybe just playing.

They want me to tell you about a DVD that they have produced, it is called “Behind the Bluestone” and is full of footage from the school and stories by people who went there.  It is very inexpensive at $15 and a great way to support Deaf Children Australia.  If you are interested in purchasing it then you should go to this link, click here.

I believe more restoration work will beginning soon, so it will be good to see more happening there. Don’t forget you can also donate money to Deaf Children Australia and there is a donate button on their website.

I am going to put in a small gallery with some other images, one of them is a tree, but if you look carefully you can see the children at the school have hung hands in the tree.  You can also see some of the angles I was talking about.  I also love how much of a room you can fit into an image with the lens, the room being what was the girls dormitory now the boardroom.

A Time of Reflection

Christmas is over for another year, and now it is sort of a no where time, the end of the year is near, and most of us want to wait until the new year before doing anything new.  I feel the same way, I kind of want to start the new year refreshed and so this time is a good time for reflection, and where do I go from here.

So over the next few days I think we will revisit many photos I have shown before, and start planning what I want to achieve next year.

So today being Friday, I thought we could look back on my project for Deaf Children Australia and what I have done there.  I first went to the Bluestone that belongs to Deaf Children Australia in February this year and since that time I have been there many times and taken many photos.

scdca-6874This is the first photo I showed you of it.  I think we all agreed that it was a stunning building.

In my time there I have taken lots of photos, and I have tried to work out what I was going to do there.  It has been an interesting journey.  Initially it was just about taking photos, but as time has gone on my journey there has changed a little.

I first became involved because they wanted me to record the restorations that the building would be undergoing as it changes the way the building is used and being restored as it gets close to its 150th birthday.

LeanneCole-dca-5054So far I have seen some of that restoration work done on the front of the building, where the front entrance had been closed in case something fell off the roof.  It is now open.  However, for me that has been about it, and I didn’t want to stop going there, so I think I am going to start something new there in the near future.

group_class_photos_0005-1919_1I am starting to get involved in the history of the association and the original Deaf School that was established in the 1850’s.

History is something I do love and I have found that many of you enjoy that as well.  It is so interesting to see how a place changes over time.  How it came to be and where they are going in the future.

I am going to get more involved in the visual history, which might mean extending my editing knowledge and learning how to restore images.  I am excited at that prospect.

So next year, there should be more happening with the building and restoration, but I also hope that I can do more on the history as well.  I have shown you so many photos of the building, I am a little reluctant to show them again, but I think I will just show you some from my recent trip in a gallery.

Looking at Now and Then

When I first got my Nikon D800 I couldn’t wait to take it over to the bluestone that belongs to Deaf Children Australia.  I wanted to see how much I could capture with the full frame camera and my 14-24mm lens.  It was a beautiful day and I loved how the sky has come out in the images.

dca-20131111-1192I know this image looks very similar to the one I showed you last month, but it is taken from a different place, really.  I was surprised how close I could go and how much I could get in the shot.  I think this and some of the others show you what a glorious spring day we were having.

dca-20131111-1267When I first got there I walked past this fence that had gumboots hanging from it.  I loved them and thought I would get photos when I was leaving.  By the time I was leaving, I had forgotten all about the boots until I was walking out.  I did consider not taking the image, but in the end, I just had to get the camera out again and do it.  They were very cute.  I think you can see we were losing out our lovely spring sky.

Part of the reason for going on this day was too look at some photos that belonged to a former student there, she was there during the 1930’s and had some photos, letters and other memorabilia, that were from the time she was there.  I can’t show you any of that at this time, but it has all been scanned and once some things are finalised, I will be able to show them to you.  However, when the images came to me to be scanned, there were some class photos, and I want to show a couple of them today.

group_class_photos_0005-1919_1The class of 1919.  I assume this is the whole school.  I am afraid I don’t know a lot about these photos, but I do hope to find out more.  It is funny looking at it, the boys in the back standing straight and tall with their arms folded, the boys in front lounging, maybe looking a little bored.  How do you get the attention of this many children, you can’t yell at them, they wouldn’t hear you.  They have had to stay still for a while, you can see the boy on the very left moved and is a bit blurred.

I had to do a bit of work to this one, it was too big for my scanner, so I did in two bits and put them together.  I hope it isn’t obvious where it was done.  The image itself was in pretty good condition and I didn’t have to do too much to it.   Unlike the other one, which I will put into a gallery for you, it was so faded and I had to do a lot to bring it back, though I don’t think it will ever be perfect, but it is far better than what it was.

I have more photos and will put them in a gallery.  I also wanted to show the front entrance as well because it is now open again, so it was nice to see it without all the tape and barriers around it.

I am off to the city tonight to start taking photos of the Christmas Festival in Melbourne.  Should be a great night in the city, lots happening.  I am excited about it, and a little nervous.  I should have lots of photos to show you in the weeks coming.  How are your Christmas photos coming along, anyone have any for me yet?  Remember you can email links to me.

How a Bluestone Came to be on St Kilda Road

On my last visit to the Bluestone for Deaf Children Australia I was allowed to borrow a book The History of the Victorian School for Deaf Children.  The book was written by J.H.Burchett, MBE and was first published in 1964.  I don’t think the book is still available, so I have to be very careful with the copy I have.


It is great to actually read some of the history rather than just getting bits and pieces from this person and that.   So for today’s post I thought I would share some of the information of how the DCA ended up where it is today.  The photos are going to be all the ones I have taken of the building so far, I think that will work with this.

The history starts before this, but I am more interested in the bluestone and I am going to look at how it came to be.  The book isn’t great with dates, but we can assume that by the early 1860’s the enrolment numbers in the school were increasing at such a rate that operating the school from various houses was not possible anymore.  So the school applied to the Board of Land and Works for a land grant.  The land on St Kilda Road was not the first piece of land offered, but the one they finally settled on.  We know, and have been told before that the land was marsh land, which is probably why they were offered it, what would be today considered prime real estate.  Not sure it was back then, but today any land on St Kilda Road is worth millions.


From what I can work out to get a grant of money from the Treasury they needed to raise money from an “apathetic public”.  So lots of public meetings were held to raise money for the building fund, and they managed to raise £1,054 and then the Treasury granted them £3,000.  With these funds architects were then employed to draw up plans for the new building, I don’t like using the word institute.

The book also states that FJ Rose, the original principal of the school, had ideas and the architects used many of these for the building that was then built.

The contract for the building was signed on the 4th of January in 1866 and work began on it in February, the following month. Sir C.H. Darling, K.C.B. laid the foundation stone for the building on the 6th of March and by September the building was occupied.  His Excellency Sir J.H.T. Manners-Sutton K.C.B. officially opened the building on the 13th of October, nine and half months after construction began.  Could you imagine a building being built that fast today?

Here is a quote about the way the building was built.

“When the solid nature of the structure is considered and the materials from which it is built, that every stone had to be shaped by hand, the scaffolding an affair of poles and ropes, and then note a modern structure under way with all the modern electrical and other equipment in use, one is amazed at the speed with which the building arose.”


While the building was going ahead and the costs were mounting up, the Treasury wasn’t very forthcoming with the promised funds and the committee found itself struggling financially.  In the end seven members of the committee made themselves personally responsible to the bank for the funds and they became the first trustees.  Eventually the £3,000 promised was received from the Treasury, much to everyone’s relief.

The building cost £7,266/18/6 to build the central 3 stories with the tower, and the south wing with its two stories.  Over the years the building has been added to, with the north wing and various other additions.

Now I find myself part of the story of a new chapter in the building as it prepares for the next 100 years and it changes as the world does around it.

Now here is a gallery of images of how the building is today. There are a lot of them, I was surprised, but it was good to see them again.


Taking a Closer Look at the Damage

Last month I showed you some photos that I had taken from the Cherry Picker when I went to the bluestone that belongs to Deaf Children Australia.  I only showed you the building, but while I was up there Paul showed me what some of the problems with the building were.  I took some photos, so today I thought I would show those to you.

LeanneCole-DCA-5050Paul is showing me how the sandstone is falling apart, you can just pick it off with your fingers.  This is part of the reason why the front of the building is closed, these bits are falling down onto people.  There are other reasons, though I haven’t been back to see if the front area is open yet.

LeanneCole-dca-5062Here is a spot where the cracked and broken bits have come away.  I love the texture.  I should add it to my texture file.

LeanneCole-dca-5054Here is Paul showing me the damage to the pointing.  The bluestone, as I understand it, is as good today as it was when the building was built 150 years ago.  The problem is more with the materials that were used around the bluestone.

LeanneCole-dca-5063This is from the top looking straight down.  Great view.

LeanneCole-dca-5131You can see here where the pointing has been fixed, next to the old pointing.  The building is going to look great when all this is done.

This gives you more of an insight into some of the things that need to be repaired on this great building.

Remember if you would like to help Deaf Children Australia and the restoration of the Blueston then you can Donate Here.