Our History of Guide Dogs
1950 Arnold Cook returns to Australia with his UK-trained Guide Dog ‘Dreena’. Arnold Cook was the first Guide Dog handler in Australia.
1951 Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is established in Perth with financial assistance from the Claremont Apex Club.
1952 ‘Beau’, the first Australian-trained Guide Dog, is matched with a blind handler, Mrs Elsie Mead.
1957 Guide Dogs for the Blind Association of New South Wales is formed, along with a new national Guide Dogs association.
1962 Guide Dogs were permitted to travel inside planes.
1964 Jim Jones was appointed the first full-time secretary, organiser of Guide Dogs for the Blind Association of NSW.
1966 The addition of mobility aids to the provision of Guide Dogs necessitated extra staff numbers and an increase in fundraising activity.
1973 Juliet Jones was appointed our first Australian-trained Orientation & Mobility Instructor.
1979 At the request of clients, we changed our name to Guide Dogs Association of New South Wales, reflecting the fact that not all people with vision impairment are blind.
1984 Therapy Dogs Program, a community service providing companion dogs for people who may have limited social contact due to disability, age or ill health, is launched.
1991 NSW and ACT Associations merge to become the Guide Dogs Association of New South Wales and ACT.
1999 The Association, in conjunction with the University of Newcastle, develops a new course for the training of Orientation & Mobility Instructors.
2000 The new state-of-the-art Guide Dogs Centre at Glossodia is opened by the Governor of New South Wales.
2003 The company is renamed Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to reflect current thinking and style, and moves its head office to Chatswood.
2009 The Centre for Eye Health, an initiative of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and The University of New South Wales, is opened by the Governor of New South Wales.
2012 A puppy breeding program is established to enhance control of Guide Dog quality and graduate numbers.
2017 Guide Dogs NSW/ACT celebrated 60 years of assisting people with vision impairment and enhancing their independence and mobility through the services offered.