Peter Blockey



Peter Blockey: I was born Deaf in Harvey, WA into a hearing family of 4 brothers which I was in the middle. I was the only one Deaf, no others ever Deaf in my family. I did not know Sign Language until I was 11 years old. I first went to the Speech and Hearing Centre where I was taught oral communication. This however was not for me. When I was 11 I changed schools and saw people using Auslan for the first time. Because I was small back then it seemed big to me. As I grew up I realised how small it really was.

In mid-1980 I left Swanbourne Senior High School while studying year 11 to start as an apprentice painter with State Energy Commission. I continued as a trade painter for 14 years in which I had to drive and fly to State-wide country locations to paint power stations, switchyards, Gas stations after being made redundant. I had another subcontract as a painter for 16years until I semi-retired and now on a Disability Pension.

Being the only Deaf person in my family I am the only artist that I know of in my family. When I was a child and used to play piano—listen to the music bass and headphone to the radio in bed and drift to sleep. It’s my passion to the music, when I needed to write poems I had no support or encouragement, I didn’t know who to ask anyway so I kept it hidden with no external encouragement. The catalyst for me doing something about my art came in 1986, when I learnt about, Marlee Matlin. At the age of 21 she became the youngest and first deaf recipient of the best actress Oscar for her role in the film “Children of a Lesser God”. I was filled with pride that a Deaf person could achieve such an accomplishment.

I began writing on my own, mostly about my dreams, things like sleeping through a storm, or dancing in the rain. I also wrote about my frustrations being a small Deaf person in a big hearing world. For many years I wrote on my own, I know my English was not very good and people found it difficult to connect with my poems. During this time I have made a living working as a painter or a cleaner, but this is not my passion, just a job to pay the bills. I’m an artists and wanted to be in entertainment industry and need an interpreter to work with the crews.

I organised to set up WA Deaf Theatre in 2009 and WA Deaf Arts in 2012. I performed Auslan songs in The Night of Deaf Community Centre in East Perth.