Support and sponsors

The financial or institutional support of these organizations at various times from the mid-1980s to the present have made Auslan Signbank possible.

The Sidney Myer Fund & The Myer Foundation offered generous and strategic support to Trevor Johnston in 1984 to research and publish the first dictionary of the sign language of the Australian deaf community (Auslan). All subsequent editions and formats of this dictionary, including Auslan Signbank, would not have been possible without this initial support:


This Auslan Signbank site is the latest updated and expanded multi-media edition of the original Auslan dictionary. There have been five editions of the multi-media Auslan dictionary—two on CD-ROM, and three on the internet (2004, 2014, and this current edition). Since 2014, The AMP Foundation, DeafConnectED, and Deaf Services have generously supported the addition of new signs to Signbank and/or the replacement of most of the old low-resolution digital videos with much clearer high-resolution ones.

Author, editor(s), researchers, annotators, programmers and web designers

Trevor Johnston created the original database of Auslan signs for The Auslan Dictionary. This was followed by Signs of Australia edited by Trevor Johnston (with Adam Schembri and Robert Adam as research assistants); Discovering Auslan, edited by Trevor Johnston, Jemina Napier, and Darlene Thornton; and the Survival Guide to Auslan, edited by Trevor Johnston and Adam Schembri.

Auslan Signbank is constantly changing and being updated with new information contributed by the deaf community or derived from annotations in the Auslan Corpus. These annotations have been created by Trevor Johnston or (in alphabetical order): Julia Allen, Karin Banna, Donovan Cresdee, Louise de Beuzeville, Lindsay Ferrara, Dani Fried, Della Goswell, Michael Gray, Ben Hatchard, Gabrielle Hodge, Adam Schembri, Gerry Shearim, Jane van Roekel and Lori Whynot.

A multi-media Auslan dictionary was first conceived by Trevor Johnston in the early 1990s and became a reality later in the decade after improvements in computing and digital video technology made it technically possible and affordable to implement on personal computers (Signs of Australia: a new dictionary of Auslan on CD-ROM, edited by Trevor Johnston.) This was followed by the first internet version of the multi-media dictionary (Auslan Signbank) in 2004 on a platform designed and programmed by Catalyst Training Systems, Pty Ltd. Since 2005 Steve Cassidy (Department of Computing, Macquarie University) has been the programmer behind Auslan Signbank, maintaining, changing and improving the functionality of the site. For a completely new version of the site in 2014, he rewrote the program for Auslan Signbank. He continued providing technical and program support for the site until 2022

The deaf community in Australia

There could be no dictionary without the help, enthusiasm and participation of deaf people and deaf community organisations across Australia. We thank the members of the Australian deaf community for sharing their knowledge and language with us. The names of the many individuals who have helped over the years are far too numerous to list here but they can be found in the acknowledgements sections of each of the published dictionaries. The on-going participation and support of the deaf community continues to be important in keeping Auslan Signbank up-to-date and representative of the language of the signing deaf community in Australia.