History of Numero®

Frank Drysdale

History of Numero®, an educational maths game!

The creator of Numero®, Rev. Frank Drysdale (1932-2011), was forced into early retirement in 1989 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. One of Frank’s own remedies to this situation was to keep himself mentally fit by playing mind games, many of which involved cards. He enlisted the help of his young grandchildren to help him pass the time playing different card games.

Numero® was developed as a product of these sessions with his grandchildren, as Frank started with a simple concept and developed it into the game we now call Numero®. Realising some potential, but not yet clear on how to use this in a classroom setting, Dr Paul Swan assisted by trialling Numero in a class of graduating teachers at Edith Cowan University in Bunbury. Potential realised!!

Numero® was demonstrated in public for the first time in 1993 when presented at The Mathematics Association of Western Australia (MAWA) annual conference. The reception it received prompted Frank, and his wife Joan (1936-2018), to print 2000 packs of Numero® which were collated and packaged in Frank’s back shed by a band of willing helpers. Numero® had been born and Frank and Joan Drysdale were kept busy holding workshops and collating and packing Numero®.

Joan Drysdale

When it was clear that Numero® was going to be a success, Frank and Joan gifted the copyright ownership of the game to Alzheimer’s WA. This has ensured that royalties from the sale of all Numero® products are channelled to Alzheimer’s WA, providing money to help fund various dementia-related programs throughout WA and the rest of the world.

In 1998, after about 40000 packs had been sold, it was clear that Numero® had grown to a stage where it was too big to be run as a backyard operation. An international educational publisher, based in their home state of Western Australia, took over the publishing and distribution rights. As expected, Numero® continued to grow in popularity, spreading to more and more countries, and gaining enthusiastic endorsement from educators and players alike.

A new era began in 2018 with publishing and distribution rights returning to the family fold, with their daughter, Julie, regaining control of Numero’s® future, through Independent Education and Training (IET). This company was formed to look after Numero® going forward and will cover everything Numero® related, including publishing, sales, distribution, marketing, professional development and the interschool competitions run in Western Australia on an annual basis.