2019 National Convention


“You can do it your way”


This year, our National Convention was held in Tasmania at The Old Woolstore, 1 Macquarie St, Hobart, from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March 2019, with an additional sight-seeing day on Monday 1st April. 

On this page:

The 2019 National Convention is proudly sponsored by

Vision Australia

Guide Dogs Australia

Department of Social Services



Pacific Vision

University of Tasmania

Recordings from the 2019 National Convention

Listen to the recordings from our National Convention via our Audio page

Wrap Up: From the President and CEO

Over 300 people enjoyed the 2019 National Convention

Following our successful National Convention in Hobart, attended by 300 people in person or via extensive Internet and radio coverage, we want to update you on some of the highlights.

Martin Stewart received the David Blyth Award for 2019. Martin was recognised for his forthright and tenacious advocacy. While Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to Doug McGinn and Sondra Wibberley for their many years of service to BCA and their long records of achievement in the education sector. The Dianna Braun Aspirations Award went to Robyn Bousie for her contribution as a founding member and ongoing contributor to BCA’s National Women’s Branch.

One of the themes of our convention was the impact of emerging technology on the lives and independence of people who are blind or vision impaired. The session on the Future of Work brought this into sharp focus. In particular, we were intrigued by insights from our keynote speaker, Suman Kanuganti, (CEO of Aira) into how people who are blind or vision impaired use technology to solve workplace challenges. In total the weekend featured presentations and exhibits providing information on seven different apps and other programs that apply new technology to aid navigation and other life activities.

The theme of our convention, “you can do it your way” was explored through sessions focusing on travel, health, independence, living with additional impairments and diversity. BCA’s Blindness Service Provider expectations Policy, which was unanimously endorsed by the convention, highlighted our philosophy of collaboration, consultation and doing it our way.

A workshop on the future of Audio Description, will contribute to our work in this area and broaden the discourse. And a series of five podcasts, “Our Legacy – Changing What it Means to Be Blind in NSW and the ACT” was launched. These will be broadcast on Radio for the Print Handicapped in Sydney and Canberra and available as a podcast.

The convention also provided an opportunity to bring a small group of members together to trial a prototype of the Albert Tactile Guide, which we hope will offer a short-term solution to the current inaccessibility of the Albert EFTPOS terminal. A broader trial will be announced in the near future.

The weekend wasn’t all serious business. Our choir, “Strictly Unconventional”, was just one opportunity for friends old and new to enjoy each other’s company.

The success of the convention was made possible by contributions from our sponsors, our hosts at the Old Woolstore Hotel, our staff team and the over 40 volunteers who assisted with everything from hosting our radio and internet coverage to assisting attendees to navigate the venue.

Thank you to all those who made this Convention such an outstanding success.

John Simpson, BCA President

Emma Bennison, Chief Executive Officer

Venue Information

We are excited to be partnering with The Old Woolstore, a historic building in the heart of Hobart, to host the convention proceedings as well as our accommodation. The venue is full of character while also being accessible. It is centrally located, close to cafes, restaurants, shops, entertainment, and other accommodation options. And less than 20 minutes from the airport.

The Old Woolstore has a mixture of accommodation types:

  • Hotel room 
  • 1 bed apartment 
  • 2 bed apartment (sleeps 4) 

This means there are more options for those who wish to share accommodation or prepare their own meals while attending conven

Visit The Old Woolstore online at www.oldwoolstore.com.au

The Program

There will be workshops on the Friday afternoon, followed by more formal convention sessions on the Saturday and Sunday. We will also be arranging sight-seeing options on the Monday for those who wish to stay a little longer.

The full program can be viewed here.

Sight Seeing Options

Here is an overview of the sight seeing options that were available on Monday 1 April in Hobart, following the national convention weekend.

  • Option 1: Half day tour of Lark Distillery
  • Option 2: City bus tour
  • Option 3: MONA – Museum of Old and New Art
  • Option 4: Tour of Print Radio Tasmania

Option 1: Half Day Tour of Lark Distillery & Bar

Price: $80 per person (includes tastings)

Tour Duration: 3 hours – returning to hotel around 2:00PM

Weblink: https://larkdistillery.com/

About Lark Distillery

Bill Lark realised that everything you need for a world-class whisky was in Tasmania – rich fields of barley, an abundance of wonderfully pure soft water, highland peat bogs, and the perfect climate to bring all the ingredients together in a marriage of science, art and passion.

Bill’s wife Lyn, and daughter Kristy, have played an integral part in growing the business. When Kristy joined the team as head distiller, she was one of the world’s youngest female distillers. Women are known for their ability to distinguish flavours and this superior talent in both Lyn and Kristy has given Lark products a notable edge.

Today the Lark Distillery is one of Australia’s leading distilleries, producing high quality, premium spirits using traditional time-honoured methods. The Distillery runs an 1800 litre copper pot still along with a 500 litre spirit still. The range of distilled products includes the flagship Lark Single Malt Whisky and Forty Spotted Rare Tasmanian Gin.

The tour commences at our Cellar Door on Hobart’s Waterfront for a brief welcome (and a whisky) before we travel out to our distillery, just 15 minutes North-East of the city. Once at the distillery we are able to get up close to the entire production process and witness the science, art and passion that goes into making every bottle of Lark Single Malt Whisky.

The tour finishes with a tour-exclusive tasting of Lark whiskies straight from the cask, surrounded by our future releases in our bond store, before returning to the Cellar Door to conclude with a final dram.

Option 2: City Bus Tour

Price: $35 per person ($30 concession), valid for 24 hours

Duration: 1.5 hours – return to hotel around 1:00PM

Weblink: http://www.reddecker.com.au/

About Reddecker

Reddecker is a family owned business operating daily tours on a Red Double Decker Bus of Hobart and Tasmania. Reddecker are the first and only company still operating double decker buses, both open and closed toppers, in Tasmania and the only company to provide a city loop, and a tourist hop-on hop-off service in Hobart.

You can Hop on and Hop Off or do the full 90 minute tour. The bus visits locations such as the Brooke Street Pier, Salamanca Place, St Georges Church, Wrest Point Casino, Cascade Brewery, the Female Factory (with rich history about our female convicts), Hobart CBD, Convict Penitentiary and Botanical Gardens just to name a few stops. There is sure to be something for everyone.

Option 3: MONA – Museum of Old and New Art


Ferry to MONA: $22 return (no concessions)

Admission to MONA:

  • $28 per person
  • $25 per concession
  • Free for Tasmanian Citizens (must present Photo ID including residential address)

Duration: Approx. 2.5 hours (not including ferry travel there and back) – return to the hotel around 3:00PM

Weblink: https://mona.net.au/

About MONA

Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art offers a walk through history to current and modern Art. From their general collection named Monasims to confronting and thought provoking pieces, MONA is bound to generate conversation, stimulate the senses and take you on an exciting journey.

BCA has arranged a guided tour of at least 10 exhibits. Exhibits have been selected in consultation with people who are blind or vision impaired and incorporate auditory and/or tactile elements. If time allows, it may be possible to visit additional exhibits during the tour.

Option 4: Tour of Print Radio Tasmania

Price: Free, however a short taxi ride to Print Radio Tasmania at own expense is required – approximately $7 and booking is still essential as places are limited.

Tour duration: 1 hour – return to hotel around 2:30PM

Weblink: http://www.7rph.org.au/

About Print Radio Tasmania

Print Radio Tasmania is Tasmania’s state-wide RPH service. Broadcasting since 1982, its studios can be found just outside the city centre, in Davey Street.

We have a proud history of involvement of blind and vision impaired people.

Find out how a radio station can be run by blind or vision impaired people. Learn about some of the issues and advancements made in assistive technology, and discover some of the issues facing RPH stations across Australia.

Family Friendly Event

We want to make conventions as inclusive as possible, which in this case means ensuring that partners and children have activity options available to them while Convention sessions are taking place.

This may include:

  • Having volunteers dedicated to supervise youngsters for different activities
  • Providing a child care service

If you have any feedback about this, or further suggestions, please feel free to get in touch. You will also be able to express interest in this option when you register.


Congratulations to all award recipients for 2019! Find out more in the Convention Wrap Up


View the recommendations here (Word doc).

Information for First Time Attendees

Buddy Program:

We will be offering a “Buddy Program” to assist first time attendees and more recent members to feel more at home during the convention. If you are attending convention for the first time and would like the benefit of a more experienced buddy over the convention weekend, please complete the relevant section of this registration form. Also, if you would like to act as a buddy during the convention, please complete your details on the registration form.

Financial Assistance:

Requests for financial assistance have now closed.

Volunteering at Convention

Volunteers are essential to ensuring members are adequately supported throughout the convention. To find out more about volunteering at national convention please read our Information Pack, which also includes an application form. If you have queries that cannot be answered in the information pack you can contact Naomi Barber at BCA on 1800 033 660.


Registrations have now closed.

 Registration Types:

  • Pack 1: Full Convention (includes complete Friday-Sunday program, Friday night welcome function, Saturday night dinner, and Sunday night BBQ): $250
  • Pack 2: Full Program (includes complete Friday-Sunday program, does not include evening functions): $200
  • Pack 3: Saturday and Sunday Convention (includes the Saturday and Sunday program, Saturday night dinner, and Sunday night BBQ): $220
  • Friday workshops: $50
  • Friday night welcome function: $20
  • Saturday Program (does not include dinner): $70
  • Saturday Dinner: $60
  • Sunday Program: $70
  • Sunday night BBQ: $40