Interstate deaf competition in Australia began with a friendly cricket match between South Australia and Victoria in 1895. The competition expanded to include tennis, table tennis, chess and draughts every two or three years in major capital cities in rotation. There was no official national organisation and the 'carnivals', as these competitions were called, were conducted on an ad hoc basis. At the end of World War II nearly all states were taking part in more than one sport at the 'carnivals'. ADSF logo.
In December 1954, during the carnival at Adelaide, a meeting was held between hearing and deaf leaders of the Australian deaf community, delegates of state organisations of the deaf and representatives from National Deaf Sporting Associations (cricket, tennis and table tennis). At the second meeting it was unanimously agreed to form a body to control all aspects of interstate sports competitions. This body was named the "Australian Deaf Sports Federation" (ADSF).
The ADSF affiliated in 1955, with the International Sports Committee for the Deaf (ISCD). The ISCD is responsible for all International competitions, including the Deaflympic Games (previously known as World Games for the Deaf).
The Australian Deaf Sports Carnival resumed in Sydney in 1964/65 - ten years since the previous carnival. This became the forerunner of the Australian Deaf Games now held every 3 or 4 years.
In August 1965, Australia was, for the first time, represented at the World Games for the Deaf, the quadrennial 'Olympic Games for the Deaf' at Washington D.C., winning one gold and one silver medal. Since then, Australia has participated in every Summer World Games for the Deaf. Please feel free to look through our Roll of Honour for our wonderful achievement and success by our athletes.
For the first time, in 1975 Australia participated in the World Winter Games for the Deaf, held at Lake Placid, USA, by sending a team of three skiers and three officials.
The first Trans-Tasman Games for the Deaf took place during December 1975 / January 1976, when the New Zealand team toured the Eastern States of Australia, playing a series of matches against state teams and concluding its tour with matches against national teams. Unfortunately this competition has not continued.
In 1982, the ADSF became a company limited by guarantee and was retitled as the Australian Deaf Sports Federation Limited.
On 1st March 1985, with funding from the Federal Government, the ADSF Ltd employed a part time administrator to manage the secretariat.
Formal establishment of an Asia-Pacific Deaf Sports Confederation occurred in 1988 in Melbourne. Australia is an affiliated member body of this Confederation.
In 1995, ADSF invited cities to submit an expression of interest to bid for the 20th World Games for the Deaf in 2005. Two cities submitted an interest and the right to bid was awarded to Melbourne with its impressive bid submission.
1999 was an exciting year for the Australian deaf sports community when it was announced to the world that Australia won the right to host the 20th World Games for the Deaf. The bidding was conducted during the 14th Winter Games for the Deaf in Switzerland. Additionally, the ADSF Ltd started trading as Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) in 1999.
In 2001, CISS announced, with approval from the International Olympic Committee, a change of name from the World Games for the Deaf to the Deaflympics.
In 2003, DSA revealed its new image and logo. This indicated a change of direction and moving forward toward its vision. DSA started working very hard to prepare the biggest ever Australian Team for the 2005 Deaflympic Games and early in 2004, DSA received, for the first time ever, significant funding for the Australian Deaflympic Team. This support provided great motivation for DSA and the Australian athletes to strive for success on home soil at the Melbourne Games.
During 2003/2004, DSA underwent significant transformation that saw the establishment of a portfolio-based board with each director responsible for identifiable areas including: Finance & Administration, Sport, Events, Members & Community, Funding and Communications & Public Relations. The DSA board is comprised of a team of skilled and committed directors; who are also experts in their respective fields.
For the first time in DSA history, two full-time staff are implementing the strategic intents. Currently, DSA has the largest number of innovative services that have been established for the direct benefit of our members. We thank you and look forward to your continued support at a time of a dynamic growth at DSA!
Note: We thank Anne Bremner for providing the historical facts!