John Gosling AM recognised on the Australia Day Honours list as he celebrates 50 years of working with Guide Dogs

John Gosling AM, often referred to as the ‘Elder Statesman of Guide Dogs’ in Australia has been honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to people who are blind or have low vision in the same week he will celebrate 50 years of working with Australia’s Most Trusted Charity.

Tuesday 2 February will mark the Guide Dog Instructors five decade anniversary working from the Guide Dogs Victoria campus in Kew, Melbourne; his work significantly contributing to the charity’s growth nationally, as well the Guide Dog movement on an international scale.

John decided age 16 that he would spend his life working with Guide Dogs but had to wait six long years to turn the then minimum application age of 22. In that time, he was called up for national service and served in Vietnam. He even wore his army uniform to his Guide Dogs interview upon his return, hoping that it would help secure him the job.

In the 50 years since, John can’t put an exact figure on the ‘thousands’ of life changing Guide Dogs and Clients he has directly or indirectly has worked with. What is certain is the integral role he has played in the organisation expanding its services beyond the much loved and iconic Guide Dog – to now providing a wide range of services to enhance the independence of people living with low vision or blindness.

When asked what he is most proud of from his half-century tenure, John doesn’t point to one single personal achievement. Instead he says, “It’s the freedom and independence Guide Dogs help bring to people with low vision or blindness. Experiencing the trust Clients place in our staff and in our beautiful, dedicated dogs is a real honour.”

Reflecting on his legacy, he also takes great pride in the dedicated teams of Guide Dog Instructors and Orientation and Mobility Instructors he has helped train and guide through their careers. “These people are now based all around the world in the UK, Asia, Scandinavia and USA, and also here in Australia making a difference,” John says.

“Thank you John for your invaluable contribution to the Guide Dog movement and dedication over 50 years. Your Order of Australia is so richly deserved, and your legacy truly immeasurable,” said Karen Hayes, CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria.

Some of John’s career highlights include:

  • In 1992, invited to become the second Accreditation Assessor of the newly formed International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). In this role, John assessed 24 applicant Guide Dog Schools against International Standards in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Norway, France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Israel, Slovakia Republic, the United States of America and China.
  • Elected three times to the Board of the International Guide Dog Federation.
  • In 2001, awarded the Order of Australia (OAM).
  • In 2003, awarded the Keith Holdsworth Perpetual Award for services to the Guide Dog and Orientation & Mobility Instructors profession by the Orientation & Mobility Instructors Association of Australasia.
  • From 2015 to 2018, chaired to the IGDF Development Committee and lead the development of an Orientation & Mobility Short Course in Prague and the first South American Guide Dog Seminar in Brazil.
  • Recipient of the 2018 International Guide Dog Federation, Ken Lord Award for exceptional services to the International Guide Dog Movement.

Posted in: Media Release – Published on29 January 2021

New DGHA 2020 Committee

At the DGHA Annual General Meeting, held on Wed 16 December 2020, the following members were elected or re-elected onto the DGHA Committee:

  • Kevin Murfitt, President
  • John Hardie, Treasurer
  • Greg Madson Secretary
  • Jamie Kelly, general committee
  • Ros Mathews, general committee
  • Denise Ede, general committee
  • Erika Webb, general committee
  • Annette Ferguson, general committee
  • Francois Jacobs, general committee

Committee members not up for election this year who continue in their roles are:

  • Claudia Stevenson, Vice-President
  • Bronwyn Drew, general committee

We look forward to working together to advance DGHA’s peer network and to advocate on issues important to dog guide handlers.

Yours sincerely
Dr Kevin Murfitt AM

statement from the World Blind Union for International Guide Dogs Day

The World Blind Union (WBU) joins the rest of the world in observing International Guide Dogs Day (IGDD) on Wednesday April 29th.

International Guide Dogs day is observed annually on the last Wednesday of April. It highlights the critical role that these service animals also referred to as “working dogs” or “seeing eye dogs”, play in enabling persons who are blind or partially sighted to avoid obstacles and travel safely, confidently, and independently.

In order to avoid contractingCovid-19 and observe proper social distancing practices, persons who are blind or partially sighted are now forced to either stay home with no access to essential services, or to find creative means to travel independently when absolutely necessary. This is where the role of properly trained Guide Dogs becomes very important. Their use significantly decreases the need for physical interaction of a blind or partially sighted person with others.

The World Blind Union therefore takes this opportunity to lobby governments and policy makers to develop and implement legislation to eliminate discrimination against the use of Guide Dogs in public spaces: to encourage the general public to extend social distancing practices to Guide Dogs, and to inform persons who are blind or partially sighted that although there is no evidence of dogs contracting Covid-19, research has shown that they can act as a fomite (surface) for the spread of disease, that is, they can carry the virus or parts of the virus on their coats, nose or mouth and so it is necessary that proper hygiene be practiced more frequently, not only for yourself, but for anyone who will be caring for your Guide Dog if you are unwell.

As the world develops strategies to cope with the effects of this pandemic and to eventually eradicate it, WBU will continue to advocate on behalf of our members. Our aim is to ensure that persons with disabilities, especially those who are blind and partially sighted are not deprived of their rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD), and that they remain on governments’ agenda as they continue to strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization that represents the estimated 253 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations of blind people advocating on their own behalf and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.

Visit our website at

For further information, please contact:

Terry Mutuku
Communications and Strategic Development Officer
World Blind Union

Dog Guide Handlers Australia Annual General Meeting – 25 March 2020

Notice is hereby given that the delayed DGHA (Inc) AGM, as approved by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection (WA) under the Associations Incorporation Act (2015), will be held on the 25th March 2020.

When: Wednesday 25 March 2020 by Teleconference.

The meeting will be held at 5pm in WA, 8pm in NSW and VIC.
Please note: check your local time.


  1. Welcome and Roll Call
  2. Approval of 2018 DGHA AGM Minutes
  3. Approval of 2019 Annual Reports
  4. Voting on Elections to Committee
  5. Special Resolution: that members approve the revised DGHA (Inc)constitution as drafted in compliance with the new rules under the Associations Incorporations Act (2015) (WA)

Please note: A copy of the proposed new rules and an explanatory document will be sent out to members in early March, along with phone in details for the AGM.

Nominations for Committee

As per the DGHA constitution, this year, due to rotation of committee members, the positions of Vice-President, Secretary, and up to 4 other committee members are due for election.

Current committee members that have completed their term are:

Executive Committee Members:
Vice-President – Claudia (Penny) Stevenson (has actually served only 1 year in this position due to an out of cycle vacancy arisen from the resignation of Kevin Murfitt as Vice-President in 2018 in order for him to nominate for President),
And Secretary Joyce Jones.

Committee Members:
Jamie Kelly
Bev Best
Warwick Best

All Executive and committee members above are eligible for re-election and are keen to continue contributing to the DGHA committee of management.

If you would like to nominate for positions on the DGHA committee, please complete the DGHA committee nomination form and return by email no later than 26/02/2020 to

Yours sincerely, Kevin Murfitt, President, DGHA

Audio of November Members Meeting with Guest Speaker Amber Yarde Community and Mainstream Engagement NDIS

The link below will take you to the audio of the November 27 members meeting with guest presenter Amber Yarde, Assistant Director, Victoria, Community and Mainstream Engagement, Community and Mainstream Engagement Branch National Disability Insurance Agency.

Amber started with a short talk about NDIS support for dog-guides and handlers. She then answered questions related to NDIA policy and funding for dog-guides and handlers.

The duration is 1 hour 20 minutes, and the file size is 30.8Mb, in mp3 format.

Amber Yarde from Community and Mainstream Engagement NDIS

Audio of September Members Meeting with Guest Speaker Zoren Milasinovich a vet from Green Cross

The link below will take you to the audio of the September 25 members meeting with Guest presenter Zoren Milasinovich the vet from Green Cross Vets in Narre Warren.

Zoran starts with a short talk about some common first aid situations and how you might handle these if you are blind or have low vision. He then answers questions on health, maintenance and general care of dog guides.

The duration is 1 hour 12 minutes, and the file size is 30.6Mb, in mp3 format.

Zoren Milasinovich a vet from Green Cross Vets

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