On Queen’s Birthday in June 2021, Anne Bremner AM from Victoria, became a Member of the Order of Australia. She is commended for her “significant service as an advocate for deaf and hard of hearing in sports”, as reported by the Gazette.

Anne is known by the deaf community as one of the highly regarded sportswoman in the Deaf community, as well as being Australia’s best deaf netball player.

As a young child, Anne fell in love with her ball instead of her doll given to her by her mother. “My mum was a dressmaker, she loved sewing. She gave me a doll. I just grabbed it and slammed it on the table. I wanted a ball!” She recalls having a photo of herself as a little girl holding a ball.

Reflecting on her sporting background, Anne has experienced a range of sports where most of her involvements were in netball and basketball.

Anne began her active life with mainstream swimming. When winter came, she took up netball. She learnt about netball through a classroom teacher who taught her deaf school (Glendonald in Kew, Victoria) about sports. Nonetheless, this influence would bring excitement to the eyes of these children. They were asked what position they wanted to be on. “I thought long and hard about it. As serious as my determination might be, I love the ball and I wanted the ball. If I decided to be the Goal Shooter, the ball would never come to me. So I decided to take on the defending position because the ball will always come my way!” Anne smiles.

When Anne joined a hearing club, she became a shooter. The Victorian deaf netball community says she is known for her “long bombs”.

Before joining sports involving deaf, Anne learnt about Deaflympics at the time in Washington DC, USA, 1965 through a record book she read. “It included the times of sports like swimming. I was adamant when I informed my parents about the swimming because my timing was faster. That’s how my parents decided to sign me up with a local swimming club,” said Anne.

Eventually, she alternated playing basketball and netball when the seasons changed. Anne saw that both sports would give her lifetime experiences. She has travelled to New Zealand in 1985 where Australian won in Netball. She has coached the Australian team when they went to Deaflympics in New Zealand in 1989. She also played for Australia at the Los Angeles’ Deaflympics in Basketball and the team won the Bronze medal in 1985.

While Anne switches between mainstream sports through seasonal changes, she also mingles in two worlds; the deaf and the hearing communities. Coming into the deaf community, Anne agrees that this change of scene helps her feel right at home because of communication being the number one anchor that unite the community. “The difference is the standard of sporting ability. Hence why I join the mainstream sport. I still alternate between the two communities. I love my deaf community.”

Anne has a message for the deaf youth; “It’s important to have sports in your life. There are so many different events that you can do, it’d get you here, there or play there or that. It’s best to find one that you’d love to be doing. If you’re doing something with little to no passion, don’t do it. You must have the desire, the will to play the sport,” said Anne.

Anne Bremner AM was involved in the following:

  • Australian Deaf Sports Federation (now known as Deaf Sports Australia)
  • Victorian Sports Association for the Deaf (now known as Deaf Sports Recreation Victoria*)
  • Netball (including mainstream, Australian and Victorian Deaf Netball Associations)
  • Basketball (Deaflympics and Australian and Victorian Deaf Basketball Associations)
  • Expression Australia (previously known as Victorian Deaf Society)
  • Victorian Council of Deaf People
  • Australian Association of the Deaf (now known as Deaf Australia)
  • Varying roles in the education sector and network

Past awards and recognition includes:

  • Deaf Australian of the Year, Deaf Australia, 2008
  • ER Noble Award, Deaf Victoria, 1996
  • Deaf Sports Australia Coach of the Year, 1989 and 1991
  • Bronze Medal, World Games for the Deaf (now Deaflympics), Los Angeles, 1985
  • Australian Sportsperson of the Year Award, Australian Deaf Games, 1982/1983

Anne Bremner AM is also a Life Member at the following organisations:

  • Deaf Sports Australia (2006)
  • Victorian Deaf Netball Association
  • Australian Deaf Netball Association
  • Victorian Deaf Basketball Association

A breakdown of her achievements can be found here.

Check out our YouTube Channel to see a video interview between Anne Bremner AM and Deaf Netball Australia’s Marnie Kerridge, as organised by Deaf Sports Australia.


*recorded information was VicDeaf but Anne Bremner AM has corrected this.

Media contact:
Lauren Townsend