The Disability Trust was established through the collective efforts of people with disabilities and their families. Its earliest role was in developing and bringing together local services in the Illawarra and advocating for more effective ways to meet community needs.

Many current Illawarra organisations and disability services were established or enhanced through the successful advocacy of committees resourced and supported by The Disability Trust in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Several local Illawarra based organisations still operating today had their beginnings in this process.

Importantly as The Trust has grown and become more diverse it has retained its connection with people with disabilities and their families and has continued to place a client-focused ethos at the heart of its operations.


The NSW Government began funding The Trust as an information provider from its small cottage in Wollongong. The Trust became a meeting and referral point for people with disabilities, their families and those agencies concerned with their needs. The Trust’s main activities included supporting a range of self-help groups and producing the first member newsletter an activity that continues today.