In 1961, there were only five Opportunity Deaf Classes in NSW, four in Sydney and one in Wollongong.
Brian Brecht, of Burwood OD Parent Group, called a meeting of parents and under his Presidency, the Federation of Junior Deaf Education (FJDE) was formed in 1961 with the aim of demanding improved opportunities for deaf students. Meetings were held regularly in school halls around Sydney and Wollongong. More classes were opened and as the Federation membership grew, meetings moved further afield although finances were a constant concern. At one meeting Mr Kevin Summerell, the Treasurer, reported the Federation had sixpence in the bank.
In 1980, the Federation received its first major government subsidy from the Department of Youth and Community Affairs. 1982 saw the organisation registered as a charity and on 15 September 1989, Parent Council for Deaf Education became incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act, 1984.
For 45 years, PCDE has been addressing the needs of families with deaf and hard of hearing children. This has been achieved by providing families with support and information and advocating on their behalf for improved services and opportunities for children with a hearing loss. In 2012, we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a new logo and name - Parents of Deaf Children (PODC).
We are carrying on this proud tradition of parents who have gone before us and continue to work with families, teachers, other organisations and Government departments as we reached our 60th anniversary in 2021. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations have need to be postponed. We hope to gather with everyone and celebrate our achievements some time in the future.
A message from the late Mr. Brian Brecht, delivered in March 2002.
Founding President of the Federation of Junior Deaf Education Delivered at the PCDE 40th Anniversary Cocktail Party – March 2002
“First of all, thanks to the Committee for the invitation for my wife and myself. It is a great pleasure to be here and I feel very honoured by the invitation. Forty years ago the seed was planted and the Federation, as it was then known, came into being. At that time, there were some parent groups associated with particular schools. Mr Rex Crab, a Wollongong teacher, floated the idea of an organisation to which all parent groups could be invited to become members. An initial meeting was held and I believe that this was at our home.
From this meeting, the Federation for Junior Deaf Education, now the PCDE, came into being with myself being elected as President. From then on the road was quote bumpy for a while, negotiating for registration etc. Thanks to the then office holders and my wife things started to come together. It was rough at times. I can remember my then Treasurer, Kevin Summerell, phoning me to say, “ I can’t present a financial statement at the meeting – no money, can’t buy stamps” - so we overcame that ourselves.
Things progressed very well and many objectives were achieved and from my observations, when I read Sound News, this is still happening. Deaf education has come a long way and I am sure that a lot of this is due to the pressures we have brought to bear on various Departments. Well done. In closing may I say that I feel honoured at having been a part of this and I feel sure that more improvements will eventuate.
My great thanks to my wife and the various committee members that I was associated with over the years that I held the office of President.” Brian Brecht March 21, 2002
Excuse me...could you tell me about deafness?
A delightful book drawn and written by Bill Gannon from 1980-1982 and published by the Federation for Junior Deaf Education.