A pioneer of Human rights
The imposing neo-Gothic Bluestone building on St Kilda Road that opened in 1866 as Victoria’s first purpose-built school for Deaf children, is one of Melbourne’s best-known historic landmarks.
But what of the man who founded and led that school for more than 30 years? Today, Frederick John Rose – FJ Rose to all – is recognised as the great pioneer of education for the deaf not only in Victoria but across Australia; a humble man whose remarkable achievements continue to support and inspire.
“It’s a fascinating history and our founder’s story has it all – adventure and romance, great success and crushing adversity, pathos and tragedy, and ultimately, vindication,” says David Wilson, CEO of Deaf Children Australia.
FJ Rose died at the age of 89 at his East Malvern home on December 1, 1920. Not long after Rose Day was established to pay tribute to his remarkable achievements.
Two years ago, Deaf Children Australia reinstated Rose Day to celebrate and explore the life and legacy of its founder, and to share it with the broader community. He was a key visionary and collaborated with both the Deaf and hearing communities to see Victoria’s first school for deaf children open its doors.
His two great supporters were his wife Elizabeth and his right-hand man, the Rev. William Moss, minister of the Prahran Independent Church (Chapel St, is name after him). They proved to be a formidable team. Moss had the connections and Rose was the central driving force with his passionate conviction that being deaf was no obstacle to a successful, richly productive life.
Throughout the late 1860’s and right through to present day, Rose has been a staple voice of Deaf history in Australia. He raised awareness of injustices faced and the lack of essential education to see deaf children have equal access to opportunities.
DCA is honored to continue his work today as we work to ensure deaf and hard of hearing children have every opportunity to reach their potential.
At the time Rose’s life’s work was scrutinized and misunderstood, now it is seen as one of the most forward thinking and philanthropic. Rose with his great friend, Reverend William Moss created the change the community was waiting for and started a school for deaf children.
It is said that a genius is often underestimated during their time but generations later, Rose’s visionary methods and determination have been honored by many across Australia. He is an Australian hero with his ideas germinating from roots in Melbourne to feed the souls of the deaf community in Australia and beyond.
Rose was laid to rest at St Kilda Cemetery, where you may wish to visit and pay your respects .
The biography of F.J. Rose details his journey to Australia and his life’s work, learn more on our website. Click here