About the Bluestone
Protecting the Iconic Site
Deaf Children Australia, as the owners of the Bluestone Building and its site at 597 St Kilda Road, is proud to continue to support our founder, FJ Rose’s mission: to support the education and welfare of deaf and hard of hearing children.
As the owners of the site, we are also charged with preserving the integrity of the building and the grounds. It is a Victoria Heritage listed site (#H2122) and is deeply embedded in Deaf culture in Australia. It is the last remaining site purpose built to support deaf children and as such, is important to the Deaf community.
The Bluestone is also an icon of Melbourne and is entwined in its rich history. We are committed to ensuring the iconic building can continue to be enjoyed by the Deaf community and the community at large for years to come.
Reducing Access to the Site
Deaf Children Australia understand the decision to cease permission for general access to the grounds by the public is a cause of disappointment to some members of the local community who have used the grounds for recreational purposes.
As the owner of the land, Deaf Children Australia is responsible for taking all reasonable steps required to provide for the safety of visitors (including the public), its staff (as per the Occupational Health and Safety Act,2004, VIC), and tenants, including the Victorian College for the Deaf (VCD).
We have increasing concerns about the behaviour of some persons entering and using the grounds at will for various purposes, which have presented an unacceptable ongoing risk to our staff, tenants, students, service users, visitors and historic features of the site. It is with regret we have had to make this decision.
People are welcome to use the grounds with permission, and if you would like to book our site, you can find out more by clicking here.
Protecting the needs of Deaf Children
As caretakers of the Bluestone building, following the legacy of our founder, FJ Rose, our mission is to continue to support the education and welfare of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth. Our building is a significant landmark in Victorian deaf history. We understand the vital importance of protecting the legacy of F. J. Rose’s vision and the Bluestone Building.
It lies at the heart of the Deaf community, serving as a beautiful reminder of Deaf history in Australia. Through our continued advocacy, our aim is to ensure the Bluestone building can chronicle and maintain the history of the Victorian Deaf community: serving as both a window to the past, and as a bridge to a brighter future.
Securing the Site
As the owner of the land, Deaf Children Australia is responsible for taking all reasonable steps required to make sure visitors (including the public), staff (as per the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2004, VIC), and tenants remain safe while on our premises.
The Tenants at 597 St Kilda Rd are:
Victorian College for the Deaf
Sign for Work (Disability Employment Service)
Victorian Deaf Education Institute; and
Accessing the Site
We encourage people to visit the site to learn of its history and/or to enjoy its facilities. We operate tours in accordance with demand. In addition, individuals, groups and organisations can book the site to run a wide range of events.
See Booking the Bluestone for further information.
How we Protect the Bluestone
It is with the help of government grants, combined with the money we invest in maintaining the 160 year legacy of the Bluestone Building, that we can protect the site.
The community at large also plays a key role in protecting the site. By learning about its history, people will understand its significance and why it is important to protect it for generations to come.
Living Heritage Grant
From 2017 to 2019, we received a Living Heritage Grant from Heritage Victoria, to embark upon an extensive restoration of the windows featured in the Western wing of our iconic Bluestone – to ensure our site remains true to the vision of our founder, FJ Rose.
Deaf Children Australia engaged students from the Victorian College for the Deaf to take part in the restoration.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience, learning new skills, and gaining important insights to the importance of protecting the site. The students proudly took Heritage Victoria on a tour of the site on completion of the project.
Community Heritage Grant
The 2020 Community Heritage Grant, received by Deaf Children Australia, will enable us to update our digital library of historical records. DCA will be engaging four deaf staff to take part in collating and recording our history. The team will lead the cataloguing with the software the grant has provided us. It is essential to us that the deaf community continue to be part of the Bluestone, and these roles are of vital importance in helping to protect and share it with the community.
With the support of the grants we receive, we are able to remain committed to preserving our history, and to supporting deaf and hard of hearing children.
The Bluestone Story
160 years of Deaf History
Constructed in 1866, Deaf Children Australia’s iconic Bluestone Building was home to the first school for Deaf Children in Victoria. It has supported the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children ever since. Founded by Frederick John Rose – affectionately known as F. J. Rose – and his wife Elizabeth Manning Telfer, our building was founded from the words of a humble letter.
A letter from a widow appeared in The Argus on the 16th of February 1859, pleading for help for her deaf daughter - and for the 50 other deaf children that had no access to education. A deaf builder, by the name of F. J. Rose, would read the letter – changing the course of his life. Inspired by that letter, F. J. Rose would go on to build Victoria’s very first school for deaf children. Read our FJ Rose biography to learn more about our pioneering founder.
Approximately 7 years later, on the 6th of March 1866, Sir Charles H Darling would lay the foundation stone of what has become an icon of Melbourne, the grand Neo-Gothic Bluestone Building – standing at 597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Designed by Crouch & Wilson Architects and built by William Ireland, the Bluestone Building has provided deaf and hard of hearing children with 160 years of support: including education and welfare.
The FJ Rose Fountain
Donated by our Founder
The FJ Rose Fountain
Commemorating our Founder
In 1868, F. J. Rose donated his own money to erect the Bluestone’s marble fountain – which sits in the forecourt of the Bluestone building. Wreathed by flowers, the fountain has been a staple of the Bluestone Building: where 160 years’ worth of students have gathered.
In 1988, a commemorative stone was laid near the base of the fountain, celebrating the life and accomplishments of F. J. Rose in providing educational services to deaf children, and supporting their welfare.
DCA has a range of spaces for hire at their head office grounds in Melbourne. Our heritage listed Bluestone Building has a beautiful expansive grounds with many areas perfect for a range of functions and events. We have a sporting oval, basketball courts, playground, many shaded areas and large and small grass patches.
The building is host to many comfortable rooms that cater to small and large business and community needs. There is office space, function and conference rooms, a lecture theatre and studio space available.
We take bookings for events such as:
Wedding ceremonies and photography
Sport events and training sessions
Business meetings and conferences
Ferguson and Urie
Stained Glass Window
Ferguson and Urie
Our Stained Glass Mural
Inside the Bluestone Building sits a vibrant three-panelled stained-glass window, commissioned from Ferguson and Urie in 1866. This historic piece of glasswork includes a vibrant, pink-robed angel in the centre, alongside two cherubs on either side. Across the bottom are three symbols for Faith, Hope, and Charity – and on the top of the mural is a Scottish Thistle, an English Rose, and an Irish Shamrock. This historical piece of glasswork has stood the test of time, rendering the devotion and philosophy of our founder, F. J. Rose, in vibrant colour.