The history of the Victorian College for the Deaf

The Victorian College for the Deaf, previously known as the Victorian School for Deaf Children was established in the 1860s by a deaf man Fredrick J Rose. The school was extensively upgraded in the 1990s and continues to provide a unique educational environment for Victorian deaf children.









Our school


Victorian College for the Deaf Utmost for the Highest

 On 16th February 1859, a letter appeared in the Melbourne Argus, appealing for help for the deaf children of the colony as there were no educational arrangements for these children. Mr Frederic John Rose replied to the series of letters from his residency in Sandhurst (Bendigo) and formed a friendship with the writer Mrs. Sarah Ann Lewis, whose daughter, Lucy Ann Lewis, became his first pupil.

Mr F.J Rose was a well educated deaf man who had come from England in 1852 and had been educated at the Old Kent Road School for the Deaf in London. Mr Rose became deaf at the age of 6 after a bout of Scarlet Fever.

On November 12th 1860 the 'Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution' was opened by Mr Rose at his residency in Peel Street Windsor.

The school numbers grew quickly within a few years and had to move three times.

In 1861 to a cottage on Henry Street Windsor, in 1862 to a house on Nelson Street Windsor and thirdly in 1864 to "Leal House" on Commercial Road Prahran.

After the 3 moves and with numbers continuing to grow, the Committee realised that it was time for a permanent home and a specially designed building.

In 1865 the Government made a grant of land on the corner of St. Kilda Road and High Street Prahran, and the iconic blue-stone building was built and opened in 1866.

It is appropriate that the founder and first headmaster was an educated Deaf man, Mr Rose a role model to many students. He proved that who you are never determines what you can achieve. If it wasn't for a man dreaming so boldly, thousands of Deaf Victorians would not be the better both academically and socially as VCD continues to be the student hub of the Deaf community.

Mr Rose passed away on the 1st December 1920 at the age of 89. He is buried in St Kilda Cemetery. 

Originally named Victorian Deaf and Dumb Institution, the Dumb was dropped from the name in 1949 and significantly was the first institution of it's like in the world to drop the word Dumb from its title. From then onwards the school was the Victorian School for Deaf Children. Then in the year of 1995 that name was changed to Victorian College for the Deaf.

Since 1860 thousands of deaf students have passed through the college doors. VCD continues to be the leading school for the deaf, and an outstanding provider of quality deaf education in Australia.

 Victorian College for the Deaf Utmost for the Highest

UTMOST FOR THE HIGHEST - Goethe a famous German poet said "the highest cannot be spoken, it must be enacted."  This is a perfect motto for the Victorian College for the Deaf as we have always strove to attain the highest by action, rather than word.


FJ Rose                                                            Bluestone building                    Bluestone building







FJ Rose

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