Australian Deaf Games 2016!

The history of interstate deaf sport in Australia dates back to 1895 when the Victorian deaf cricket team travelled to South Australia for a game.  Deaf Sport Carnivals have been held from 1914.

Deaf Sports Carnival, 1933 (courtesy of

“Whilst sport is clearly core, the Australian Deaf Games also constitutes a major social and cultural festival for the whole Deaf community.”  —

We arrived to a sea of hands on 9 January for the opening ceremonies in Adelaide.  Teams from every state and territory, Fiji and Vanuatu were involved and hundreds of spectators from around Australia welcomed them.

Highlights of the week included:

–Watching the Fijian team enter the stage of the opening ceremonies with smiles and traditional dress. Fiji has a very strong deaf community.

Fijian team arriving at the Opening Ceremonies

–Interpreted tours (by generous volunteer interpreters) of the stunning Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum.

–Watching K catch up with her oldest deaf friend, Tobian–they’re now eight, but still holding hands.

K and her friend getting ready to cool off on a hot day in Adelaide

–Meeting people from all over Australia–such a friendly atmosphere.  I’ve always found the Deaf community warm and welcoming, even when I only knew about three words of Auslan.

–Watching Helen coordinate 50+ kids  learn the routine for the closing ceremony, “like herding cats, but more fun!


Author: sarahklenbort

I'm a Brisbane-based writer and mother of two children--one deaf and one hearing. I'm also a sessional academic at the University of Queensland, where I teach literature and creative writing. In 2016, my husband and I took the kids out of school and travelled around Australia with a camper trailer, visiting deaf schools along the way. When we found Toowong State School, it was so good, we decided to move to Queensland! We still have the trailer and take off for the bush whenever we can.

One thought on “Australian Deaf Games 2016!”

  1. Really enjoying the stories Sarah, especially this one. Never knew about this sporting event. Can’t believe how much ground you guys have covered in such a short time. Hope you, L, K & R are all well. Xo


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