It all started in 1958 when a Speech Therapist named Elinor Wray formed the LOST CHORD CLUB. Miss Wray had completed her formal training as a Speech Therapist in the U.K. at several different hospitals. On returning home, she found no formal club or Association for the training or education of laryngectomees.

Elinor WRAY

Elinor held the first meeting in September 1958 in the old, corrugated sheds at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick. Frank Coleman became the first President, and Lilah Walton the first Welfare Officer. The meetings later moved to the Combined Services Club in Barrack Street, Sydney (the Club became our first sponsor), then to the Cancer Council’s rooms at Kings Cross and later, the Uniting Church, Strathfield. Today, we hold our meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from February to November, at the Sydney Mechanics School of the Arts, in Sydney CBD.

How We started


After Miss Wray passed away aged 98 years, the Lost Chord Club changed its name to the Laryngectomee Association of N.S.W. and became a registered incorporated charity.

The Association conducted a study on how laryngectomees communicated. Oesophageal speech was used by 23%, Servox by 39%, Blom singer prosthesis by 20%, DSP8 by 8%, and Cooper Rand by 9%.



Alan Dear, the LANSW Newsletter Editor and a Lost Chord Club counsellor for persons who are going to have a laryngectomy, died of cancer that was unrelated to his work. Professor Chris O’Brien performed a laryngectomy on Dolores Stevens of Gilgandra for the ‘R.P.A.’ television series (who later became known for his career-ending health problems and subsequent Cancer Foundation work).

Brian Gardner became the incumbent President.



Lilah Walton was awarded the Order of Australia for her contributions to community health.

The Capper Bequest. The Permanent Trustee Office in Victoria advised the Association of a substantial bequeathment. In brief, Mrs Evelyn Olive Capper of Bayview died in March 2003. Although not a laryngectomee, Mrs Capper had cancer, during which time, through contacts with The Cancer Council of N.S.W, she was befriended by Lilah Walton. The Association benefited greatly due to Lilah’s role as confidante and her compassionate support to Mrs Capper.



LANSW funds Julia Maclean (Speech Pathologist at St Georges Hospital), to conduct a three-year Clinical Research programme into swallowing difficulties facing patients undergoing laryngectomy operations.

50th Anniversary year



Launch of our New Website

All of this is only possible with the help of LANSW officers.