Lake Macquarie History

The Tingira Centre of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children was established in Australia in 1860, by Thomas Pattison, a deaf migrant from Scotland. It was established in Sydney as a public institution, opening as a school in 1860. Currently the principal campus is located at North Rocks.

A few years after the turn of the new century, in the early 1990s, there was an outbreak of rubella. This meant that many children were admitted to the Royal Institute as students. Rubella during pregnancy may cause deafness, blindness, and other conditions in children. However this was not known then, and the relationship between rubella and these conditions was not discovered until 1941.In that year Sir Norman Gregg, a Sydney ophthalmologist, published a paper in which he established that infants whose mothers had contracted rubella during pregnancy had been born with cataracts.

The Tingira Centre, run by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, was opened in 1991. This centre provides Early Childhood Services for deaf children, blind children and deaf blind children who live within the Hunter area.

The Centre runs a preschool which provides early intervention services, and it also runs long-day care programs, using reverse integration enrolment. In addition, it also runs a Teleschool. The Teleschool enables children to work with the RIDBC staff from home, using video conferencing technology. Children who live in the rural areas of the Hunter, the Central Coast and Northern Rivers are also able to access the Teleschool. Each child has his or her own program, specifically tailored to meet their needs. The Centre is the only one providing such specialist services located outside of a capital city.

The Centre is located in Floraville Road. Early intervention for children who are blind, deaf, or both is extremely important. The Centre runs programs which cater for children from a few weeks old, through to adolescence. However, intervention between birth and the age of five is the most important, as this will make a great difference in the child’s life.

The Centre operates as a charity, and also relies on support from the community, and fund-raising, in order to keep operating and providing these important services.


2001, 'Families join fun as Tingira Centre celebrates birthday', Lake Macquarie News (Sydney, Australia), 7 Nov, p.3

BALIND PATRICK TOTH-MEYERS and AIMEE DOLAN, C 2000, 'Centre of senses and sensibilities - School Newspaper', Newcastle Herald (Australia), 27 Apr, p. 46

TAMARYN RYAN, B 2001, 'Tingira Centre turns ten', Newcastle Star, The (Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Australia), 15 Nov