Vision Australia was created in 2004 through the merger of 4 smaller blindness organisations: the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (RVIB), Vision Australia Foundation (VAF), The Royal Blind Society (RBS), The National Information Library Service (NILS).
In 2006 the organisation was further expanded with the merger of the Royal Blind Foundation Queensland. This merger gave it complete reach across the eastern states of Australia.
In February 2008 it was announced that the Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA) would also merge with Vision Australia by the end of June 2008.
The inclusion of guide dog services means that one national organisation is able to provide all the services required by the blindness and low vision community.
The following blindness and low vision services are listed on the Vision Australia website:
- Access Advice
- Accessible Information Solutions
- Audio Description Services
- Audio Publishing
- Children's Services
- Community Education
- Deafblind Services
- Employment Services (Vision Australia is listed as an official JobAccess Supplier)
- Equipment Solutions
- Further Education Bursaries
- Independent Living Services
- Information Library Service
- Low Vision Services
- Policy and Advocacy
- Recreation Services
- Technology and Training Solutions
- Vision Australia Radio
History and heritage collection
The history of Vision Australia’s founding organisations go back to the late 1800s and cover much of the struggle for better rights and services for Australia's blind and low vision community.
Given this long history, Vision Australia has a very extensive heritage collection including many objects and images pertaining to the story and history of the blindness community in Australia.
Carols by Candlelight
Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight is the organisation's leading fundraising and awareness campaign and is an Australian Christmas tradition. Dating back to 1938, it is held on Christmas Eve at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and reaches a television audience of more than 2 million Australians each year.
All proceeds from this event go towards Vision Australia's Children's Services.
Performers at this event have included Rolf Harris, Hugh Jackman, Tina Arena, John Farnham, Debra Byrne, Olivia Newton-John, Lee Kernaghan, Judith Durham, Marina Prior, Denis Walter, Douglas Heywood, Silvie Paladino, Hi-5, Humphrey B Bear, Anthony Callea and of long-time host Ray Martin.
DAISY stands for Digital Accessible Information SYstem. It is a format based on the W3C defined SGML applications XHTML 1.0 and SMIL 1.0. Using this framework, a talking book format is presented that enables navigation within a sequential and hierarchical structure consisting of (marked-up) text synchronized with audio.
Vision Australia is currently in the process of digitising and updating its entire library catalogue to the DAISY format for the benefit of its clients. Vision Australia is listed as a member of the DAISY Consortium.
One of the issues associated with digitising the existing library is managing the massive amounts of computer storage that it will require. At present Vision Australia has a 40-terabyte library that can be scaled to 100 terabytes. Ultimately the organization's goal is to have its library available as online downloads for its community.
A win for Vision Australia's Policy and Advocacy department was the introduction of Electronic voting (or E-voting) at the Victoria State Elections in 2007. For the first time in Australian history, people who were blind were able to vote in secrecy and independently. The Victorian Electoral Commission's e-voting system was set up in response to submissions for electoral reform by Vision Australia and Blind Citizens Australia.
Partnerships and memberships
Notes and references
- Royal Blind Society (Merger) Bill - 10/11/2005 - 2R - NSW Parliament
- ROYAL VICTORIAN INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND AND OTHER AGENCIES (MERGER) BILL 2005
- Royal Blind Society (Merger) Bill 2005 - NSW Parliament
- Services - Vision Australia
- Our History - About Us - Vision Australia
- Braille mapping
- Discovernet: Australian Tales - Stories of Vision!
- CAN - Collections Australia Network - Preserving the history of Australians who are blind or vision impaired
- Picture Australia | Vision Australia
- DAISY: Member Detail: Australia New Zealand Accessible Information Group
- CIO - Sweet Charity
- Vision Australia
- Victoria puts blind faith in electronic voting - Technology - theage.com.au
- Libraries Australia - Annual report / Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind
- Member List/Links - Members - Vision 2020 Australia