Deaf Children Australia, Melbourne, Photography

Dial 4 for the Matron

It would appear that Wednesday’s post may become more about the Blue Stone building that is owned by the organisation Deaf Children Australia.  The building, I suspect has many stories to tell and I am looking forward to finding out what they are.  When I was shown around last week I was told many stories and those stories have intrigued me and I know they will intrigue you as well.

Wall Phone

I imagine that the things I find interesting are not necessarily going to be the things that the people working there would find interesting.  I can imagine that some of the things are just things that have been there forever and they don’t think about them any more.  For example, an old telephone mounted on the wall.  I don’t think I have ever seen a phone like this before.  I tried to do some research on it, admittedly very quickly, but I couldn’t find out anything.  I found a similar phone, but it had a spiral cord, and the body of the phone was longer.  That phone was from the 1920’s, which is earlier than I thought this phone would be.  I thought this might be from the 1930’s or 40’s.  I don’t really know.

You might not be able to see it from there, but if you dial 2 you get the Superintendent, dial 3 for the General Office and if you need to speak to the Matron then dial 4.  I love how these things are still there and haven’t been changed.

It was hard to get a good photo of it, and hopefully when I go back with my tripod I will be able to get a better one and one of the whole phone with the long cord as well.

The Stained Light in the Stairs

Near the main entrance is a set of stairs and half way up is the above stained glass window.  I first saw this window when I was waiting for Damian.  I looked at it and read the inscriptions in it.  The one on the left says “And on that day, Shall the Deaf, Hear the Words, of the Book” and the one on the right says “He Maketh Both, the Deaf to Hear, and the Dumb, to Speak”.  When I saw this window and read those words, I realised that the building must have always been here for the Deaf and the Dumb.  As it turns out I was correct in my assumption and the building was specifically built for the Deaf and Dumb Institution back in the 1860’s.


This book case holds many records of the people who have been part of the DCA.  The earliest records I could see were from 1862, so from before the building was built.  I am going to have to investigate that further.  I might see if I can get some photos of the inside of the books.  I might need to get special permission.

I was told by Damian that they used to call the kids and people attending the institution inmates, and that is how they are referred to in the ledgers.  Such a different way of life from now.  It is amazing how much as changed.

There is so much history there, and I am sure many stories.  I am really looking forward to seeing what I can find there.


  1. Intrepid exploring. Love the shots you got. The most wonderous discoveries come from some unsuspected places. Good for you !
    On my Way…

  2. Dear Leanne, If you don’t already know of the Willard Asylum photography project please check out this link. It covers all the posts related to photographing “inmates” personal belongings, so you need to scroll down before you start to see the cases themselves. I hope you find something like these tucked away in an attic at the Deaf Children Australia building. It is an extraordinary project – very emotional stuff.

  3. Really interesting. I love the picture of the phone. A phone in a building full of deaf people makes you think. Of course, not everyone would be deaf. But it seems sort of incongruent. I look forward to hearing more of the building’s history.

  4. Thank you for this post. I look forward to seeing more like it. It is the day-to-day things in life that can be most interesting. (And I love the phone just as it is. I just want to know if it is still working.)

  5. Love, love, love old buildings! I’m fascinated by the history, and of those different times. Love how you’ve captured the little details in your photos!

  6. That phone has remained stuck in my mind for 24 hours, now. That’s an excellent piece of work! Thank you!

  7. Pingback: Dial 4 for the Matron | The Rag Tree

  8. omg… sorry… but i wish i had that phone… some relatives used to have one like that that i played with as a kid… good memories…

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