Melbourne Auslan in the City Project

Melbourne Auslan in the City Project

Funded by Melbourne in the City’s Social Innovation Partnerships Programme.

Project Background

Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is the language of Australia’s Deaf community and is a recognised community language and is unique to Australia. The 2016 census recorded Melbourne as having the greatest growth in the number of Auslan users across the city. Auslan is rapidly growing in popularity, recently becoming the fifth most taught language of the 51 languages taught in in Victorian schools

Australia lags behind other countries in terms of access for Deaf and hard of hearing people, and the visibility of Auslan as one of Australia’s many community languages. As Auslan becomes more prominent through the broadcasting of Auslan interpreters on national television in response to the recent bushfire and the current COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to capitalise on the publicity and broader community’s interest in Auslan.

It is time to ensure that the broader community can celebrate and acknowledge Auslan as a language unique to Australia and an integral part of Australia’s history.

  • To increase the capacity of the wider community within City of Melbourne, by increasing awareness of Auslan and equipping City of Melbourne residents, workers, students, and visitors with basic Auslan phrases
  • To increase the number of people entering accredited and non-accredited pathways for learning Auslan
  • To increase inclusion and access for Deaf and hard of hearing people in City of Melbourne
  • To celebrate and appreciate Auslan, and City of Melbourne’s status as a hub for the Deaf community

The project has several outcomes, including:

  • Community members including retail workers, hospitality staff and service providers in City of Melbourne will be more confident and able to communicate with Deaf people
  • Inclusion for Deaf people will be increased in City of Melbourne, as there will be a greater number of people who are aware of the Deaf community and are equipped with simple phrases to enable communication with Deaf people
  • A greater number of people entering accredited and non-accredited Auslan training pathways at Expression Australia and Melbourne Polytechnic
  • The people entering Auslan training pathways will potentially explore careers in the Deaf community, such as working as Auslan interpreters, or working for service providers. Opportunities such as these are rapidly growing as more Deaf people become NDIS participants and receive funding for supports. 
  • Five Auslan learning videos of 30 seconds each, featuring sport stars and household names signing simple phrases
  • Four free taster Auslan workshops delivered within City of Melbourne
  • Four Teams of roving Auslan teachers to attend Four major sports & arts events in City of Melbourne
  • Creation of web pages embedded in relevant and appropriate sites featuring the Auslan learning videos and information about accredited and non-accredited pathways for learning Auslan.

Community Consultation:

In December 2020, we held a community consultation for members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. The purpose was to collect data on preferred Auslan phrases, locations for screening of Auslan learning videos and what they wanted to see happen out of the project. Following on from the community consultation, we did a follow-up survey based on the data collected.


You might remember us announcing an exciting project with @Expression Australia called Auslan in the City.

We’ve finally organised a community consultation, and we need YOU!

It’s happening on Wednesday 4th December 2019, at JML Centre – Expression Australia: 3/340 Albert Street East Melbourne VIC 3002.

The community consultation will start at 6PM and finish at 8PM

What’s the community consultation for?

We need your help to brainstorm on the following:

– Phrases in Auslan;

– Who should be recruited as presenters in the Auslan video to capture the interest of people who live, work, study, and visit the City of Melbourne;

– Major events for Auslan workshops where people can get a taster of Auslan.

Light refreshments will be provided.

Auslan interpreters will be available for those who are not confident/fluent in Auslan, as well as for recording purposes.

To confirm your attendance, please email me at by Monday 2nd December 2019.

We would LOVE to have you at the community consultation as your input will be very invaluable.

A flyer is available in the comments for you to download.

Community-based video on Benefits of Auslan

This project was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which meant we had to make changes to our original project plan. One of the changes was to create a community-based video on benefits of Auslan with a minor focus on COVID-19 and social distancing. 


Hope you’ve been staying safe and warm at home the last couple of weeks. I wanted to provide an update on what’s happening with the Auslan in the City project.

The project has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions which means we’re now unable to screen Auslan videos in Melbourne city such as Federation Square, Melbourne Central, etc due to massive decrease in foot activity around the city.

We’ve had to make some adjustments to the project, which means the project will now be digital.

We want to make a community based video on benefits of Auslan, and we want YOUR HELP!

With your family or friends, we want you to make a video about a benefit of Auslan such as:

  • chatting with your mouth full at the dinner table
  • signing underwater (it’s probably too cold to do this now, but if you have a heated pool, that would be awesome )
  • chatting through glass windows
  • and so many more!

I forgot to mention the deadline – whoops! The deadline is 25th MAY 2020. We’re keen to have the videos edited and

To send through your video, please upload it to and then send the link to

We would love to see the Victorian deaf community take part in this project through the community video!

If you have any questions about this, please make a comment below or send me an email.

Thank you and I look forward to receiving your videos!

CTA: Send us your favourite Melbourne City landmark in Auslan.

We are looking forward to picking up one of our projects, Auslan in the City project funded by City of Melbourne’s Social Innovation Partnerships Programme again, which has been on hold due to the ever-changing and unpredictable COVID-19 landscape.

We are looking to receive video submissions of your favourite Melbourne City landmarks sign to be displayed on big screens across Melbourne City.
We will also post our three favourite video submissions on our social media platforms. Don’t miss out – submit through Hippo at: by 22nd February 2021!

We will also post our three favourite video submissions on our social media platforms. Don’t miss out – submit by 22nd February 2021! were unable to provide Auslan taster workshops at major events in the City of Melbourne area, however, we have changed our plans to align with our project objectives. We would love to have a video submission from the community of your favourite Melbourne City landmarks sign. For instances, Flinders Street or Arts Centre Melbourne. We will be selecting some Auslan videos of Melbourne City landmarks to be displayed on big screens across the City of Melbourne. We will also be posting the top 3 Auslan videos on all of our social media platforms. If you are interested to participate in this initiative, please make your submission on Hippo. The deadline for the video submission is on 22nd February 2021 – we would love your support on this project!

Video Submission #1 - Melbourne Graffiti Laneway

One of the many brilliant video submissions we’ve received today. Thanks Melissa Bryson for sharing one of Melbourne’s famous landmarks – street art laneways!
(Signs: Melbourne, Graffiti, Walls/Laneway)

Video Submission #2 - The Shrine of Remembrance

Thanks Marnie Kerridge for sharing Victoria’s national memorial, the Shrine of Remembrance!
(Signs: Shrine-of-REMEMBRANCE)

Video Submission #3 - Melbourne Zoo

Thanks Zveki for sharing the sign for Australia’s oldest zoo, Melbourne Zoo!