The Irish nun who opened schools for the deaf in Australia

Sr Gabriel Hogan provided education for children whose needs would otherwise have been neglected

Sister Mary Gabriel Hogan came from Cabra. Photograph: University of Newcastle, Australia

Sister Mary Gabriel Hogan came from Cabra. Photograph: University of Newcastle, Australia

In 1915, the death of 71 year-old Dubliner Sr Gabriel Hogan was reported in Australian and Irish newspapers, where she was described as “an exceptional teacher, mother, guide and model” (Catholic Press, December 2nd 1915). She had, 40 years previously, established the first Catholic deaf school in New South Wales and left a lasting legacy in the provision of deaf education in Australia.

Born in 1844, Ellen Hogan lost her hearing as a result of childhood scarlet fever. At a time when infectious diseases thrived on widespread child poverty and a lack of affordable medical care, acquired hearing loss was a reality for many. The 1851 Census recorded a total of 5,180 deaf people in Ireland, of whom around a tenth had acquired deafness.

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