Matilda Ann ASTON

Also known as: Tilly

Born: 11 December 1873

Died: 1 November 1947

Special Achievements:

The first blind Australian to go to University, she eventually had to drop out because of lack of Braille textbooks.  She went on to establish Australia’s first Braille library when she founded the library of the Victorian Association of Braille Writers in 1894, now known as Vision Australia Library, the largest in Australia.  She also co-founded the Association for the Advancement of the Blind (now named Vision Australia Foundation) - and was its inaugural secretary and president on three occasions.


  • Image - Tilly Aston

    Description: Tilly Aston Date: 1937 Source: Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

    Wikimedia Commons: File:StateLibQld 2 207901 Tilly Aston.jpg

  • Image - Tilly Aston

    This photograph shows Tilly Aston in her late teens/early twenties teaching children Braille in Melbourne, Victoria. Tilly Aston was Australia's first blind teacher, co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of the Blind (now Vision Australia Foundation) and the Braille Library and the first blind woman to attend a university in Australia. Through her efforts services and conditions for blind people were greatly improved and were often at the forefront of world change. Source: Tilly Aston Heritage Collection – http://amol.org.au/guide/item.asp?dnet=1&MusID=V417&ItemNo=1

    Wikimedia Commons: File:Tilly Aston.jpg

  • Image - Rhododendron 'Tilly Aston'

    Description: Rhododendron 'Tilly Aston' Date: 19 September 2010, 13:49:11 Source: Flickr: Rhododendron Tilly Aston Author: Alpha

    Wikimedia Commons: File:Rhododendron 'Tilly Aston'.jpg

  • References

    Information provided in a letter from the Association for the Blind Ltd, no date.

    Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives catalogue, Women’s Museum of Australia (formerly the National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame), Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

  • References

    Green, O. S. Australian Dictionary of Biography. “Aston, Matilda Ann (Tilly) (1873–1947)”. accessed 7 December 2019.

    The Australian Women's Register. “Aston, Matilda Ann (1873 - 1947)”. accessed 7 December 2019.

    Wikipedia. “Tilly Aston”. accessed 7 December 2019.

    Vision Australia. “Tilly Aston, Poet and Activist”. accessed 7 December 2019.

    Powell, Susan.  (1994, November).  A Library for the Community.  National Library of Australia News.  17-20.

    (1995.)  Tilly Aston:  Hero model for a nation.  Association for the Blind New Beginnings ‘95:  Annual Report 1994/95, 6-12.