At a small meeting in the Telegraph Chambers in March 1897, a group of women formed the Queensland Braille Writing Association. Seven members, including Mrs Sharp, Head Teacher of the School for the Blind and Lady Lamington, wife of the then Queensland Governor, undertook the task of brailing twelve texts each. They began the work of building a library, as well as teaching people who were blind or had low vision and people with vision to read and write Braille.
On 22 March 1899, a free lending library consisting of 54 books was officially opened. The number of texts grew considerably over the years with some members of the Association brailing over 1000 volumes each, often by hand.
The Association provided much more than just books. Members like Madeline Bird personally convinced many employers to accept trainees who were blind and contributed to Dedication to the Blind, a radio program that aired for 25 years.
Following World War II, volunteer members tutored newly-blind ex-servicemen in braille, continued to transcribe university texts for students who were blind and produced a monthly braille magazine.
Even with the advent of assistive technologies, today the Queensland Braille Writing Association, or Braille House as it is more commonly known, still teaches braille and moon and creates Braille.
Our free lending library houses and provides a large selection of brailled books for borrowing including books for children and young adults. Braille House has continued to develop and circulate a quarterly magazine which also reaches some of our overseas clients.
Our transcribers and embossers continue to create brailled text books for students of all ages and exam papers. We also create braille for other clients for, for example, business cards and brochures, as well as labels to identify items around the workplace and the home.
People who are blind or have low vision, as well as print users, continue to be taught how to read and write braille by the Braille House tutors.
There are many ways for people to get involved with Braille House. If you would like to know more, visit our website at www.braillehouse.org.au follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/braillehouse or phone us on (07) 3848 5257.