In 1861 in London W.J. Little described deformities in newborn children which were due to asphyxiation. When Crippled Children's Societies were formed in Australia in the 1930s for the after-care of poliomylitis victims, perseverance with Little's Disease, Spastic Paralysis or Cerebral Palsy seemed unprofitable.
In 1940 in Melbourne, however, Dame Jean Macnamara placed Madge Ogilvy in charge of a small Spastic Centre in the Children's Hospital. In 1943 Daphne Gum followed suit in Adelaide. World pioneers in a positive approach to cerebral palsy were the Americans Winthrop Phelps and Earl Carlson. Carlson attracted publicity because he was himself cerebral palsied.
With the help of other parents in 1945 Neil and Audrie McLeod opened a Spastic Centre at Mosman in New South Wales. It was free, in return for voluntary service by parents, depended on state teachers but provided medical services independently of existing hospitals. Mothers staffed accommodation for country children.
Other voluntary organisations for the cerebral palsied were formed, largely by parents, in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, between 1948 and 1950. In Victoria medical services came through the hospital system, but other bodies established their own. Education was given by state authorities but not, until the 1960s, in South Australia. In Victoria, at Yooralla, and South Australia, at Ashford, cerebral palsied children were accepted, if considered educable, by crippled children's societies. Only in New South Wales was service by parents compulsory, but all looked for parent involvement. While the first emphasis was on children, vocational training and employment soon claimed attention. Accommodation for children to give respite to mothers and facilitate schooling, preceded accommodation for adults which became a major concern as the children grew up. In Tasmania the Government prevented the development of separate services for spastic children by an organization founded not by parents' self-help but by public involvement. In 1975 a Spastic Centre opened in Darwin.
Since 1954 the Australian Cerebral Palsy Association has co-ordinated approaches to the Commonwealth Government, run the Miss Australia Quest and conducted medical and educational conferences. Leading figures have been the original parent-founders who have served long terms as presidents or executives, modern business administrators and medical directors.
Any government help came first from the States but since the 1970s the Commonwealth has been a major source of income for building, staffing and allowances. A p proximately one third of all finance comes from State and Commonwealth. ………………………………