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The British Colonisation of Australia

Inquiry Question: How did the British colonisation of Australia impact on the
first peoples and the settlers?
BIG ideas

The British Colonisation of Australia played a large role in shaping the lives of many
different people

The British
Colonisation of Australia resulted in different outcomes and impacts on
and the
This unit of work explores
the settlers.
British Colonisation of Australia, with a strong focus on the
impacts upon the First Peoples and the settlers of the time. The students will be explorers of
their own while the unit unravels a timeline of people involved before, during and after the
British Colonisation. Students will be investigating the different outcomes the British
Colonisation of Australia had and how it shaped the lives of those involved. The unit will follow
a sequence of events beginning with exploring the culture and way of life of the First Peoples
of Australia through cultural artefacts, literature, and an excursion to the Melbourne Museum.
The unit of work will extend students knowledge of early explorers of Australia and the
people of the First Fleet through diverse literature, ICT resources, diary entries and mapping
activities. Through these mapping activities, the unit provides opportunities for students to
explore the Geography curriculum link Interpret maps and other geographical data and
information to develop identifications, descriptions, explanations and conclusions. (VCAA,
2016). Students will be given the opportunity to think deeply and critically about the impacts
of the British Colonisation on the First Peoples, as well as the early settlers, through engaging
interviews, debates and an incursion demonstrating early colonial life. Students will develop a
deeper understanding of rights through a debate arguing for and against Indigenous
Australians claiming the land as theirs. The unit of work has a strong focus on the different
perspectives of people involved in the British Colonisation which is reflected in the chosen
Victorian Curriculum links for 3/4 History describe perspectives of people from the past,
Stories of the First Fleet, including causes and reasons for the journey, who travelled to
Australia, and their experiences and perspectives following arrival, and The nature of
contact between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and others, for example, the
Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions (VCAA, 2016). Through
many unique and engaging lessons, this unit centres around the Victorian curriculum areas of
History, Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Indigenous Cross Curriculum Priority and the
General Capabilities.
An inquiry approach to the curriculum whereby students take on an active role in their
learning has many benefits. Inquiry based learning allows students to be facilitators of their
own learning and provides them with the opportunity to become ongoing critical thinkers
(Hoepper, 2014, p.48). History inquiry is embedded throughout this whole unit as it involves
the students in posing questions, locating and analysing sources, using evidence from these
sources and developing an informed explanation about the past (Heather Wallace, E359
Bachelor of Education Primary, Deakin University, lecture, 9 March 2016). Inquiry in the area
of History is very important as it allows students to make sense of their world and become
critical thinkers about how the world has changed over time (MCEETYA, 2008, p.8). Learning
about the History of Australia promotes students understanding of societies, movements,
events and developments that have shaped humanity from the earliest of times. It allows
students to appreciate how people in our world have changed overtime (ACARA, n.d),
especially the people in the time of the British Colonisation. One of the key characteristics of
inquiry learning is producing knowledge by investigating a situation (Hoepper, 2014, p.48).
This unit provides students many opportunities to produce knowledge through investigating
the key concepts established in the learning intentions and lessons.
The main curriculum focus of this unit is History, however the unit also integrates other
learning areas such as Geography, Civics and Citizenship, Indigenous Cross Curriculum
Priority and the General Capabilities. Integration of studies is about making the connection

Learning Intentions:
At the end of this unit, students will understand
1. The first peoples of Australia and their
culture play a large role in the history of
2. The British colonisation of Australia
drastically impacted the original landowners
3. There were numerous explorers of Australia
prior to Captain James Cook
4. The people of the First Fleet had unique
individual stories
5. British colonisation caused changes over
time in regards to people and their way of life
6. Maps can be used to locate certain areas
to represent the movement of people
At the conclusion of this unit students will be
able to:
Describe who the first peoples of Australia
were and their unique beliefs and customs
Investigate the early explorers of Australia
and people aboard the First Fleet and their
Construct a timeline of important events that
occurred during the British Colonisation of
Compose diary entries from multiple
Discuss the Evidence:
effects of the British Colonisation
Peopleson both the first peoples
and the First
Illustrate locations
and routes
of early
explorers on a map
Interview of settler and Indigenous
perspectives- (VCHHK081), (VCHHK072),
Timeline of British Colonisation- (VCHHC066)
(VCHHK079), (VCHHK080), (VCHHK081)
Diary entries (ongoing) from convict
perspectives (VCHHK080), (VCPSCSE016),
(VCHHC068), (VCCCTM020)
Y Chart-(VCHHK080),
Geography, Civics &
Cross Curriculum Priorities: Indigenous
General Capabilities: Intercultural capability,
personal and social capability, critical and
creative thinking, ethical capability

Emily Lomax &

Olivia Leenheers

Lesson 1: Australias First

Learning Intention: 1
Activity: Introduction to the
unit of work through a
brainstorm of British
Colonisation. Students will be
introduced to the concept of
Indigenous Australians being
the First Peoples of Australia.
Students will look at artefacts
from Indigenous culture such
as didgeridoo, boomerang and
paintings. A discussion will
follow about what these are
used for, their significance and
the materials they are made
from. Students will pick one of
these artefacts to research
more information and write up
a small report about the
artefact and its significance.
Resources: The Rainbow
Serpent by Dick Roughsey,
artefacts (didgeridoo,
Curriculum Links:

Lesson 2: Languages of
Australias First Peoples
Learning Intention: 1 & 6
Activity: Australias First
Peoples spoke many different
languages, some of which are
still spoken today. Students will
use an interactive map to
locate different Indigenous
languages spoken around
Australia. Students will work in
pairs to label a map of
Australia with some of the
languages spoken. Students
research Indigenous words and
symbols to write/draw around
the outside of their map.
Students will write a short
creative story using as many
Indigenous words as they can.
Resources: Labeled map of
Australia, Indigenous symbols
sheet, YouTube clip, Interactive
map website, Indigenous
words website
Curriculum Links:

Lesson 3: Excursion to
Melbourne Museum
Learning Intention: 1, 2 & 5
Activity: Students will partake
in an excursion to Melbourne
Museum to view the First
Peoples exhibition. Students
will gain an understanding and
appreciation for Indigenous
culture, and a greater insight
to life before British
Colonisation. Students will
undertake a Museum staff led
activity whereby students use
Ipads app Book Creator to
create a video story about the
cultural practices of the First
Peoples. These videos are sent
back to the school post
excursion. Students will create
a letter that will be sent to the
museum with facts they learnt
and things they enjoyed from
the exhibition.
Resources: pictures from
excursion, ipads
Assessment: Videos from
Curriculum Links:

Lesson 4: Early Explorers of

Learning Intention: 3 & 6
Activity: Students will be
introduced to early explorers
through the book Meet.
Captain Cook. Students
discuss why people wanted to
explore and settle in Australia,
including what was happening
at the time, what life was like
and why Australia would be an
appropriate place to set up a
new colony. Students
investigate early explorers
other than Captain James Cook
through a mapping activity. In
small groups, students will
research an explorer and their
journey. Students use string to
locate on a small map the
journey their explorer took.
Students use this information
to discuss other explorers
journeys in comparison to
Captain Cook and provide
suggestions as to what may
have influenced their journey.
Resources: Meet. Captain
Cook by Rae Murdie, Blank
maps, string
Curriculum Links:

Lesson 5: People of the First

Learning Intention: 4
Activity: Students brainstorm
what they know about the First
Fleet. Students fill out a Y
Chart to describe the journey
of a convict aboard the First
Fleet. Students use the
provided websites to pick a
convict to research (age,
crime, location etc). Students
will use this information to
create a face book style
convict profile of their chosen
convict. The students will
begin to write journal entries
from the perspective of their
chosen convict, these diaries
will be ongoing throughout the
unit. Students will begin by
writing about their convicts
journey aboard the First Fleet,
including living conditions,
what they are leaving behind,
Resources: The First Fleet
by Alan Boardman. Y Chart,
convict database websites,
Assessment: Diary Entries
(ongoing), Y-chart
Curriculum Links:

Lesson 6: First Contacts

Learning Intention: 4 & 5
Activity: Students investigate
what life was like after the
arrival of the First Fleet for
those onboard. Discuss issues
of lack of food, disease,
convict labour, effects on the
land and needing to spread out
to other locations. Students
will create a Venn diagram
discussion similarities and
differences between home life
and new life in Australia.
Students will create a list of
things they would take if they
were to set up a new colony.
Birds eye view maps will be
drawn to demonstrate how the
student would establish their
colony for sustaining life.

Lesson 7: Early Settlement

Learning Intention: 4 & 5
Activity: students will listen
and watch I am Australian
video followed by a discussion
of lyrics and meaning.
Students will then choose a
particular verse from the song
(relating to person and way of
life such as convict, farmer,
wife, free man, digger). They
will then research on their
Ipads more about that person
in settlement times and create
a comic strip about their way
of life including their standards
and changes over time such as
convict-free man or girl- wife.
The colonial show incursion
will occur mid week.
Assessment: Diary entry

Lesson 8:First Peoples

reaction to British Colonisation
Learning Intention: 1 , 2 & 5
Activity: read the book, You
me and Murrawee and discuss
with questions the life prior to
British Colonisation, including
personal relations and feelings.
Students will do a emotional
poster where half of the page
is what the first peoples would
feel when the land was taken
over, and the other half is
personal feelings if their house
was taken over. They are to
right on the back whether they
are right in saying its their
land. Come back as a class
and discuss reasons why they
colonised from Europe. Class
debate for and against the

Lesson 9 : Impacts of the

British Colonisation from 2
Learning Intention: 2,4,5
Activity: students watches a
video on what makes a good
news report. Discuss the
importance of good
questioning and answering
and skills needed for a news
report. In small groups/pairs
they will decide who is a news
reporter and who will be
interviewed ( convict,
Indigenous, settler). Students
are to come up with questions
and answers to construct a
news report based on the
British Colonisation . Report
should be hand written and
handed in. Film the news

Lesson 10: Timeline

Learning Intention: 2,3 & 5
Activity: students will be
creating a timeline of
important events from 1770.
Using paper students will
create a timeline on blank wall
approx 3 meters long. In
groups/pair, student choose a
particular event that has been
spoken about over the unitsail date of first fleet. Students
research more about this
particular event and create a
visual display to add on the
timeline, They are to display
date, short description and an
Resources: List of important
events, paper timeline,