The Spastic Centre of New South Wales was founded on 30 January 1945, by a concerned group of 25 parents of children with cerebral palsy, under the leadership of Audrie and Neil McLeod. It was the first organisation of its type in the world for people with cerebral palsy.
Significant dates in our history
The Spastic Centre changed its name to Cerebral Palsy Alliance to focus attention on cerebral palsy, and pay tribute to our alliance of clients, families, staff, donors, volunteers, government and researchers.
Fire destroyed the Head Office of The Spastic Centre at Allambie Heights on Sunday 16 December
The Fairfield City Marconi Centre opened at Prairiewood to service Sydney’s growing south and western suburbs. The Spastic Centre opened 22 groups homes to enable adults with cerebral palsy to live and participate in their local communities. Residents were supported with independent living training.
Centre Industries (CO) opened at Allambie Heights. This ambitious manufacturing enterprise offering training and employment for adults with cerebral palsy. It was the first commercial operation that was inclusive of people with and without a disability. Centre Industries became the model for similar projects in USA and Japan.
The Country Children’s Hostel, later known as McLeod House, opened at Allambie Heights. It was a ‘home away from home’ for dozens of country children who could now access a full range of services, like their city counterparts. The much-loved nursing staff was assisted by mothers who lived in for two week periods and regarded all the children as their family.
The first Miss Australia Quest was held to raise funds and awareness of cerebral palsy across Australia. Over the years, Miss Australia received tremendous community and media attention, focusing a national spotlight on the needs of people with cerebral palsy. The quest was later renamed Miss Australia Awards and continued until 2000.
The spastic centre began its global quest for knowledge about the causes and optimal treatments for cerebral palsy. Dr Earl Carlson, an eminent US physician with cerebral palsy, visited Mosman and declared that the services offered there were unequaled, worldwide.
The spastic centre opened its doors at 5 Queen Street Mosman. With capital of only £32. it was a shared purpose and common spirit that forged an alliance of children, parents, teachers and therapists. Fifteen children attended on the first day. Mothers were rostered to help through the week, while fathers and community volunteers laboured on weekends. Strong friendships were formed that would last a lifetime.