By Lynne Davis

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In March 1975, a meeting of people with vision impairments and blindness was held in Melbourne to discuss forming an organisation which would give a voice to Australians who were blind or vision impaired in their own country.

The meeting was attended by around 40 people, mostly from Victoria but with a sprinkling of people from New South Wales and one from Queensland. Those present decided to form such an organisation, to meet again in June of that year, and to draw up a constitution for the new organisation – to be called the National Federation of Blind Citizens.

The very first convention of what has since come to be known as Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) was held in mid-1975, and next year we will be celebrating the longevity and success of our organisation. It will be a year to acknowledge the foresight, courage and abilities of all those who have made it happen, wherever they are, to honour the people whose determination and commitment lay the foundations for what has become a major presence in Australian human rights and in international forums, to review what has been accomplished and what remains to be done as new challenges emerge and old ones persist.

Sadly, some of the ‘originals’ are no longer with us except in memory. But there are many who have been members for decades, some as far back as 1975. Planning has already begun for celebrating half a century of achievements in advocacy, community and developing identity. There will be a national convention in mid-year, as well as many opportunities to celebrate our legacy throughout the year and around the nation, either in person or via the many connections made possible by an amazing array of new technologies (something never even imagined back in 1975).

The planning is being overseen by 2 member committees and 1 staff committee – a celebrations committee, convention planning committee and logistics committee.

There will be regular updates on the progress of planning in the weekly email updates and on New Horizons. If you have any suggestions, or want to contribute in any way, please get in touch so we can talk to you. A number of our members have already contributed their ideas via responding to our online survey, and there have been some fabulous ideas put forward.

Here are the names of the committee members involved in the planning for next year’s events:

Convention Planning: Robyn Mackenzie, Annette Ferguson, Doug McGinn, Katrina Taylor, Michael Janes.

Celebrations Committee: Stephen Belbin, Lynne Davis, Susan Thompson, Carmel Jolley, John Hardie, Amy Curran.

Logistics Committee: Deb Deshayes, Angela Jaeschke, Amila Dedovic, Christina Micallef, Samantha Marsh.

We welcome your contributions and encourage you to get involved!

Please reach out us on with the subject headline ‘2025 Convention’.

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