Program Overview

Students will learn about what life was like for Aboriginal people and early European settlers at the time of first contact in Australia. Students will investigate materials that illustrate the traditional Aboriginal way of life, focusing on people, their beliefs, food, shelter, tools and weapons, customs and ceremonies, art works, dance, music, and relationship to Country. Students will, through the concept of continuity and change, realise that some things change over time and others remain the same. Students will also take on the role of early settlers and examine Scott’s Hut imagining some of the hardships of life in the early 1800’s. They will use old tools to experience for themselves the hard work involved in making things by hand. Throughout the day students will build an empathetic understanding of both Aboriginal people and early settlers life, views and decisions made, as well as appreciating that people from the past have different views and experience.

Note: Bournda EEC aims to involve the Aboriginal community in programs with Aboriginal education content. Please enquire for further details.


Key Questions

  • What was life like for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples before the arrival of the Europeans?
  • Why did Europeans settle in Australia?
  • What was life like for the first European settlers in Australia?
  • What was the nature and consequence of contact between Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and early traders, explorers and settlers?

Learning Experiences


Terra Nullius

Students read a letter from Terry Nullis, a fictional sailor and the concept of “terra nullius” is introduced.  Students then find a map, which takes the group on a walk to find the 8 locations. At each location they find a box with photos – students complete a worksheet learning about life for indigenous and non-indigenous people in Australia at the time of white settlement.  Students then find treasure.


Early settlers – Farming and Tools

Students use a variety of farm tools from the past:  (a) use a cross cut saw on a round log (b) use an adze to get a flat edge on a piece of timber  (c) shave down a piece of timber using a jack plane  (d) drill holes using several types of hand drills.  Students are exposed to the aspect of hard physical work that was needed to establish home and farm in pioneer days. Students explore Scott’s Hut and discuss what it may have been like to live there in the early 1800’s.


Aboriginal people – Bush plants

Students explore what life was like for Aboriginal people before the arrival of Europeans. Students imagine what it may have been like living at Bournda at this time. Aspects of uses of plants by Aboriginal people in their traditional style of life are introduced and students are taken on an extended walk searching for particular bush plants.  They complete a worksheet which asks for special ID features and special uses of each plant.

Scotts Hut Bournda National Park

Syllabus Outcomes


History K-6

HT2-3 A student describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects

HT2-4 A student describes and explains effects of British colonisation in Australia

HT2-5 A student applies skills of historical inquiry and communication

History Content

The diversity and longevity of Australia’s first peoples and the ways Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples are connected to Country and Place (land, sea, waterways and skies) and the implications for their daily lives (ACHHK077)

Students:

  • identify the original inhabitants of Australia and create a timeline indicating their longevity in Australia of more than 50,000 years
  • investigate, drawing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community representatives (where possible) and other sources, the traditional Aboriginal way of life, focusing on people, their beliefs, food, shelter, tools and weapons, customs and ceremonies, art works, dance, music, and relationship to Country

The nature of contact between Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions on, for example, families and the environment (ACHHK080)

Students:

  • describe the nature of contact between Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and others, including Aboriginal resistance
  • explain the term terra nullius and describe how this affected the British attitude to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Historical concepts and skills

Continuity and change: some things change over time and others remain the same

Cause and effect: events, decisions or developments in the past that produce later actions, results or effects

Perspectives: people from the past will have different views and experiences

Empathetic understanding: developing and understanding of another’s views, life and decisions made


Tathra Public School students holding up a rake they have built by hand.