Richard Frank Tunley

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Richard Frank Tunley (1879–1968) was a blinds manufacturer and inventor of educational resources for visually impaired children in Queensland, Australia.[1][2] He was a foundation member of the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb Institution and was central to the passage of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Children Instruction Act of 1924 through the Parliament of Queensland which made education for visual and hearing impaired children compulsory in Queensland.[3][4]

Tunley was born in Wolverhampton to William, a mercantile clerk, and Annie Tunley. In 1884 the family, which included ten children, emigrated to Australia and made their home on land they purchased on Stephens Street, South Brisbane. Eighteen months after their arrival William Tunley, aged 43, died.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Over a period of fifty years, Richard Tunley designed and made hundreds of educational resources and toys, which were tactile and adorned with metal plaques containing Braille descriptions, to assist visually impaired people perceive the world. He also wrote an illustrated booklet containing plans for his ships, bridges, maps, globes and toys to allow others to reproduce his inventions and formed the Queensland Braille Map and Model Club, whose members contributed to the manufacture of toys for blind children.[11][12]

Tunley commenced making maps for the blind when he became aware that there were no suitable tools available anywhere in the world that would help teach blind children geography.[13] He made his first globe in 1923 and his first map in approximately 1925.[14][15]

His maps were made from commercial paper maps applied to wood. The outline of the coastlines were then cut into the wood with boundaries, shipping routes and rivers delineated by twisted wire, studded corrugated wire strips and punched holes. Each map was labeled with aluminum plaques naming locations and features in Braille or, where a name was too long to be accommodated directly on the map, a number that corresponded to an accompanying key. The maps were distributed around the world as gifts, with Australia Post transporting them at no charge throughout the Commonwealth and at diminished cost for other destinations.[16]

Among the educational toys Tunley made were scale models of streets containing shops in different architectural styles and featuring traffic lights and vehicles. He also constructed scale models of Brisbane City Hall, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Walter Taylor Bridge and Tower Bridge.[17][18] Helen Keller visited an exhibition of his work on display at the offices of the Courier Mail during her visit to Brisbane in July 1948.[19]

In the early 1950s, Tunley built a number of intricate nine roomed dollhouses which were given as gifts to blind schools and institutes in Australia. Each house took up to five months to build and were individually named, painted in bright colours, contained no sharp edges and featured intricate raised decorations in addition to the Braille plaques attached over the structure. Assistance in building some of the furniture was given by 15 year old Neil Magill.[20][21]

In 1954 Tunley was awarded an Order of the British Empire for "services to deaf, dumb and bind children."[22][23][24][25]

He was featured in the Magnificent Makers exhibition at the State Library of Queensland in 2018.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MAPS FOR THE BLIND". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 19 May 1937. p. 23 (CITY FINAL LAST MINUTE NEWS). Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "TUNLEY BLINDS". The Brisbane Courier (22, 504). Queensland, Australia. 14 March 1930. p. 6. Retrieved 29 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Blind, Deaf and Dumb Children Instruction Act of 1924". Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Blind and Deaf and Dumb". The Telegraph (15, 833). Queensland, Australia. 28 August 1923. p. 2. Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ The United Kingdom Census of 1881. 3 April 1881.
  6. ^ "MRS. A. TUNLEY. 97. DEAD". The Courier-mail (3517). Queensland, Australia. 14 December 1944. p. 4. Retrieved 29 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Notice". The Queensland Government Gazette: 2055. 5 December 1885.
  8. ^ "DEATH OF MR. W. J. TUN LEY". Brisbane Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 20 November 1948. p. 19 (LAST RACE). Retrieved 29 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ "Family Notices". The Brisbane Courier. XL, (8, 682). Queensland, Australia. 11 November 1885. p. 1. Retrieved 29 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Classified Advertising". The Brisbane Courier. XLII, (8, 949). Queensland, Australia. 20 September 1886. p. 8. Retrieved 29 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "Toys for blind to "see"". The Courier-mail (4519). Queensland, Australia. 23 May 1951. p. 3. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "WHAT THE CHURCHES ARE DOING". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 20 July 1940. p. 17 (SPORTS FINAL). Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Showing the World to the Blind". Sunday Mail (479). Queensland, Australia. 25 June 1939. p. 12. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Magnificent Makers". State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  15. ^ "MAPS FOR THE BLIND". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 19 May 1937. p. 23 (CITY FINAL LAST MINUTE NEWS). Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ "Brisbane map-maker helps world's blind". Sunday Mail (950). Queensland, Australia. 4 July 1948. p. 5. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Showing the World to the Blind". Sunday Mail (479). Queensland, Australia. 25 June 1939. p. 12. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  18. ^ "'And the BLIND". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 8 July 1933. p. 7 (LAST RACE). Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  19. ^ "For the blind". The Courier-mail (3625). Queensland, Australia. 8 July 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "BLIND GIRLS' DELIGHT AT GIFT DOLL'S HOUSE". Brisbane Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 7 July 1950. p. 11 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  21. ^ "Owners won't see dream doll homes". Sunday Mail (1047). Queensland, Australia. 21 May 1950. p. 6. Retrieved 28 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ "Richard Frank Tunley". It's an Honour. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  23. ^ "12 Knights created in honours list". Daily Mercury. 88, (137). Queensland, Australia. 10 June 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  24. ^ "QUEEN KNIGHTS 11 AUSTRALIANS". Brisbane Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 10 June 1954. p. 5 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  25. ^ "GOSSIP FROM EVERYWHERE". Smith's Weekly. XV, (19). New South Wales, Australia. 17 June 1933. p. 13. Retrieved 25 June 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  26. ^ "Magnificent Makers: Queensland inventors and their curious creations". State Library of Queensland. 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2018.