What is Auslan?
Auslan is Australia Sign Language for short. Auslan is the language of the deaf community in NSW. Auslan is not a universal language - it is unique to Australia. There are many Sign Languages in the world. Many Sign languages are influenced by the culture of each country like many other spoken languages.
There is International Sign (IS) which is loosely based on American Sign Language and many deaf people learn this IS system to communicate with each other better, especially in world conferences and international sport events.
How did Auslan start?
Sign Language was brought to Australia by migrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland in the early 1800s. Some of these deaf migrants helped set up schools and were the first to educate deaf children in sign language.
As with other languages including English, this sign language has evolved over time to become Auslan. This means that Auslan's mother language is British Sign Language (BSL) and a little bit of Irish Sign Language (ISL).
Auslan used at the Ephpheta Centre
The Ephpheta Centre is named in honour of a passage from Mark's Gospel (Mk 7:31- 37) in which Jesus cured a deaf man. Ephpheta which means "Be Open". This Ephpheta Centre is located in Punchbowl and is a ministry supported by the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Dioceses of Parramatta and Broken Bay.
The Ephpheta Centre is for deaf and hard of hearing people and offers Catholic pastoral care, sacramental services, support and advocacy with Auslan support. We have Auslan interpreters for our business meetings. We use Auslan in our daily work with our work colleagues and deaf and hard of hearing visitors. We provide a deaf friendly space for the Ephpheta community where the main language used is Auslan.
We have developed Auslan resources at the Ephpheta Centre that could help you. Please click on one of these links to learn more.
Links to external Auslan resources
Updated 10 September 2020