Disability Services Australia celebrates 60 years

by DSA

Disability Services Australia (DSA) is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and to commemorate this milestone we will be holding a series of events commencing on Thursday 27th April, when a book authored by Sally Porteous Spurr, ‘Sixty Years of Service: Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Disability Services Australia’ will be launched at the Bankstown Sports Club.

DSA was started in 1957 by a group of parents to create employment opportunities for their sons and daughters with a disability.

Today we are a values based social enterprise supporting 2,000 people with a disability and employing more than 1,200 people in key regions of New South Wales including the Hunter, the Illawarra, Metropolitan Sydney, the Southern Highlands and Southern Ranges.

Our mission is to support the lives of people with a disability by enabling opportunities for choice, inclusion and achievement at home, in the community, through education and training and in employment.

The Diamond Jubilee of Disability Services Australia is cause for celebration says CEO Mark Spurr. From the pioneering provision of a work choice for young people with a disability, we are now characterised by a wide range of services across employment, home life and community participation.”

When I think of where DSA is today and how far DSA has come, I am in awe of our pioneers, whose vision, initiative and commitment created something of immense worth from nothing – an organisation devoted to assisting people with disability achieve their potential says Ken Gabb, Chairman. But I am equally in awe of those who continued that vision to develop DSA into a caring, professional and efficient company that is moving confidently to embrace the exciting new era of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). “

Key VIPs joining us on the day will be people we support, their families and carers, The Hon Jason Clare MP, Member for Blaxland, Ms Tania Mihailuk  MP, Member for Bankstown and Mr Norm Anderton MBE OAM, our sole surviving foundation member.

Norm, who is a youthful 95 years of age, founded the organisation which is now known as Disability Services Australia with 12 other concerned parents and community members in 1957. Their aim was to investigate ways of providing post-school employment for their children.

Norm was President of the Glenfield Park Special School P&C Association 1956–64 and Foundation President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ARP (which became Disability Services Australia) from 1957–78.

For more background information visit and for Norm Anderton:

Australians at war film archive – Norman Anderton

Seasoned skydiver: 92yo Norm takes to the skies

Coverage by Channel 9 can be viewed on the DSA youtube channel


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