Shortly after its establishment, the Tasmanian Society for Crippled Children received a grant of £1000 from the Nuffield Trust and a loan of £200 from the Rotary Club of Hobart to conduct a survey of the numbers and locations of children with physical disabilities in Tasmania. After the survey, the Society set up a paediatric clinic for these children. It eventually went on to establish six.
Following that, the Society obtained a grant from Lord Nuffield to open an after-care home for children who had contracted polio during the epidemic of 1937. Known as Wingfield House, it was on the site of the old Queen's Orphan Asylum in New Town, which by then was St John's Park.
In 1943, a statement of the Society's work and aims said that:
'The Tasmanian Society for the Care of Crippled Children was formed in 1935 to co-ordinate individual efforts to assist crippled children and to draw up a comprehensive plan covering all phases necessary to establish cripples as independent and useful members of society. This scheme covered discovery and arrangements for early treatment, adequate training for, and placement in, suitable employment.'
The Society provided treatment splints for inpatient and outpatient fittings. It supplied and repaired clothing for children in bed. It also assisted with fees, clothing, books, tools, transport, accommodation, and funds for education and training. According to the Statement of its work and aims: 'The Society's main aim was to remove every barrier that might prevent crippled children from claiming one of their greatest rights - the right to work and independence'.
In 1943, the Society convened a conference in Melbourne which led to the formation of the Australian Council for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, now known as National Disability Services.
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21 May 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/tas/TE00385
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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