Australia, linking landscapes and aboriginal people
‘The Nature Conservancy’s’ clip on restoring balance in Australia highlights how through the partnership with Aboriginal Australians, they will attempt to protect key landscapes within the country and to restore the balance that once existed. The resource will be useful to students in gaining a perspective of time and severity, ie. Aboriginals inhabited this land for 40,000 years, living in balance with nature and then in merely 200 years since European settlement, the balance has been lost. Moreover, it portrays a positive outlook for the future, with strong partnerships in place and plans to combine traditional wisdom and cutting edge science to combat this ‘unbalance’. It’s imperative that students gain an insight into how the traditional owners of the land interacted with the environment and their consideration for growth, reproduction and regeneration. It is a great introductory resource, providing students with enough information and interesting aspects of sustainability and conservation that they can investigate further. “The incorporation of Aboriginal perspectives into classroom practice includes Aboriginal students through the important recognition of their identity, history and culture and also promotes reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.” (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2011)
Teaching Idea: Invite an Aboriginal Elder/member of the Aboriginal Land Council to come in and share with the class their knowledge of Aboriginal management of and connection to the land. As a class decide on five key elements of Aboriginal land management that they noted from the guest speakers visit. Jigsaw activity – students are divided into groups and allocated a key element to examine. Within each group, students are numbered so that they can reform groups with other students in their class and are the “experts” on their key element. This is a very collaborative exercise in which students are given the opportunity to teach their peers.
Assessment Task: Ask students to reflect on the guest speaker’s visit and the main points raised. Is there a dreamtime story that links with what she/he was talking about? Ie. Mother Earth as a Life Giving Force. Students have the opportunity to go to the library and research Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories and provide an analysis of the one they choose.
NSW Department of Education & Training. (2011). Retrieved 10 April 2013 from: