Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation
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The First Fleet | State Library of New South Wales

The First Fleet | State Library of New South Wales | Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation |
Maria Kritsotakis's insight:

This is a wonderful resource for all teachers interested in the history of the British Colonisation of Australia, and it is a particularly great resource for teachers and children studying HSIE CCS2.1 and CCS2.2.


The State Library website is easy to navigate and has a wealth of information on this subject. It is a great tool to use as a starting point to looking at the changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of colonisation. Whilst coming from a predominantly British perspective it offers great insight into the arrival of the First Fleet, the First Settlers journey, their feelings about their new home and their first impressions of the Indigenous people. The site provides access to journals, log books and diary entries kept by those on the First Fleet that document the changes that British Colonisation had on them and the environment, and also access to a vast art collection of paintings, prints and drawings that record the voyage, the arrival and important events in the early years following settlement.


Stage 2 students would enjoy exploring this website as the links to the letters home and the published accounts from the diaries add a personal aspect to this historical event. The education kits linked to the website are also extremely useful for teachers and students alike as they offer interactive activities which are always useful in consolidating learning.


Whilst the student and teacher have much to gain from this site through browsing in the classroom and at a home, a good teaching idea would be to organise an excursion to The State Library to view its unrivalled collection up close. This would be of great benefit to both teacher and student. In addition to educating the student about the subject, the library excursion would also be useful in that children could practice accessing additional resources through a variety of ICT available at a large library.


This site opens up a range of assessment tasks that the student could engage in. One such idea would be each individual student writing a piece of creative writing from the point of view of one on the First Fleet. It may be a letter back home to a loved one describing their new home, it may be a log book documenting what they have experienced on their voyage and their impression of the new land or it may be a diary entry about their first encounter with the Indigenous people. Inspired by the  The State Library's large collection of art works and original documents from the First Fleet, a group activity could be a discussion about two important art works documenting the founding of Australia such as Algernon Talmage’s – The Founding of Australia (1937) and Gordon Syron’s Invasion 1 – An Aboriginal Perspective  (1999) that were painted from contrasting perspectives. This activity could then be followed up by the student's completion of an art work based on their ideas about the British Colonisation and the changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result.


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A day in the life of a convict

A day in the life of a convict | Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation |
A convict’s life depended on who they worked for, where they worked and the kind of skills they had to offer.
Maria Kritsotakis's insight:

Along with the British Colonisation of Australia came the convicts too. No longer accepted in America after The War of Independence ended, NSW was the answer to the problem for Britain.This site from Sydney Living Museums in conjunction with Historical Houses Trust of NSW focuses on convict life at Hyde Park Barracks. Hyde Park Barracks is heritage listed as one of the most significant convict sites in the world.This is an excellent resource for teachers and students. Children will enjoy this site which includes lots of photos, clear and concise accounts of the daily life of the convicts, actual newspaper articles about them and videos . Excursions can be  arranged to Hyde Park Barracks to visit the convict museum which runs educational programs that are directed at stage 2 and 3 and are  aligned with the HSIE curriculum.


There are numerous teaching activities that can be inspired by this subject. Recording the differences between a convicts clothing and our own today looking at the food they ate and  the food we eat, setting up a mock trial in small groups and determining punishments for the crimes, are but a few suggestions. For a more formal assessment children could research female convicts ( as Hyde Park Barracks was home to male convicts only) and present their findings to the class in a short five minute oral presentation where they would report on the female convicts clothing, crime and punishment, what type of labour they were sentenced to and what became of them if and when they were released ( The National Library of Australia, 2014).





The National Library of Australia. (2014). Retrieved from

Treasure Explorer

Kimberley Barcenilla's curator insight, May 31, 7:37 PM
This resource provides a curriculum-based program that is focused on student-centred learning where students are able to discover and explore the historical evidence by exploring the heritage site of Hyde Park Barracks. 

- Gives student's an opportunity to investigate primary sources in an extremely tangible and interactive way.
- First hand stories from convicts who lived at the barracks, developing skills in empathetic understanding      
- Concrete way to stimulate curiosity.
- The opportunity to combine student-lived experiences with imaginative reconstruction which can help develop a capacity to use evidence in reasoned argument in disciplinary inquiry (Taylor et al., 2012, pp. 151)
- Differing views: life for convicts versus life for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people
- Investigate the impact of convict settlement on Indigenous people.
- Opportunity for students to see, think and wonder.

What do you think was here before the barracks?


- Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects (HT2-3)
- Applies skills of historical inquiry and communication (HT2-5)
- Stories of the First Fleet, including reasons for the journey, who travelled to Australia, and their experiences following arrival (ACHHK079)


Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewaldt, J. & Boon, D. (2012). Place and Time. Explorations in Teaching Geography and History. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia
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My Place - by Nadia Wheateley

My Place - by Nadia Wheateley | Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation |
Maria Kritsotakis's insight:

My Place (1988) by Nadia Wheatley and illustrated by Donna Rawlings was first written 26 years ago now however is a wonderful and relevant resource for stage 2 students of HSIE looking at changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of Colonisation. My Place traces the history of one small part of Sydney and the people who have lived there over time and the changes to them and the area. It looks at the different characters, their families, their homes and their lives. The big fig tree and the creek are the two constant objects that have been there since the Dreamtime and up until 1988 when the book was published.  This book is brilliant any way that is read but one idea is to actually read it backward to the class starting with the last page that begins with the Dreaming and then to 1788, 1798 and so on until the present day. I feel this way the students can more fully appreciate the impact of the effects and changes to the people and places.


This website is a resource primarily aimed at teachers but can also be useful and enjoyable for the Stage 2 student. It is based on the television series that was created for My Place and can be used in conjunction with the literary text. Some children still benefit from an additional visual stimulus to support their reading development and this can be found with this link. The site offers teaching ideas based on scenes from the program. and also offers a great deal of background information on the book and the author.


My Place offers a wealth of activities for the class. The book presents  both Aboriginal and Global perspectives and can be incorporated into subjects right across the curriculum.  One such idea for the classroom would be exploring the area where your school is based. As a class students could research the local area looking at historical and current maps noting the  changes to the environment and the land and how buildings and places have been developed (Walker Books, 2014).  The students could approach local council for materials and resources and perhaps an Aboriginal spokesperson for the area could come to visit to share their knowledge on the history of the suburb. Students could also be given a particular era of  the timeline that is represented in the story and they could research that period looking at important people and events that have shaped that time and they could compare and contrast that period of time to the present day.




Walker Books (2014). Walker Books Classroom Ideas. My Place Overview. Retrieved April, 11, 2014, from

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Barani- Sydney's Aboriginal History

Barani- Sydney's Aboriginal History | Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation |
Maria Kritsotakis's insight:

Barani – Sydney's Aboriginal History, is all about the Eora people who were the first original inhabitants of Sydney. The site is well written and informative and provides both historical and current up to date information on the Aboriginal community of Sydney. The pages First Contact and Early Contact provide a comprehensive insight into the effects of changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation from an Aboriginal perspective. The Indigenous perspective is presented in a holistic and culturally  appropriate manner and is respectfully incorporated into this website (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2011).This page is linked to numerous  wonderfully descriptive essays about Indigenous people and their community and information about specific areas in Sydney such as Dawes Point and Blackwattle Bay for example, and how they were affected and changed.  The site includes an easy to read timeline of important events in history for Aboriginal people. It has maps that show the historical significance of places to Aboriginals and a comprehensive chart outlining the different clans in the Sydney region. It also looks at the Aboriginal community over the years and their involvement in visual and performing arts and in the sporting world. 


One teaching idea inspired by this website could be using process drama with the class to enact The Aboriginal perspective on British Colonisation. Using a series of activities such as frozen moments, role walking, hot seating and conscience alley students could explore further the effects and changes on theses people by getting into role and looking at these issues using both creative and critical thinking.


In a formative individual exercise students could research either a particular part of Sydney finding out the Aboriginal name of that area the language spoken by the clan,  identify it on the map and record significant changes to the land. Alternatively they could research a particular person from the Aboriginal Eora (Sydney) community at the time of colonisation and early settlement, recording their story and noting specific changes to them  such as  effects that the

environment and the introduction of disease had on them. 




Gilbert,R. & Hoepper,B.(2011) Teaching Society and Environment.  4th Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.


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NSW Migration Heritage Centre - Australia's migration history time line.

NSW Migration Heritage Centre - Australia's migration history time line. | Changes to people and places in the Sydney region as a result of British Colonisation |

Via Catherine Smyth
Maria Kritsotakis's insight:

This is a really interesting site which allows for a global perspective to be introduced on the subject of changes to people and places as a result of British Colonisation. The colonisation of Australia effectively opened the doors to people from other nations and today Australia is a melting pot of people from all over the world. This website presents a detailed overview into migration to Australia starting when the Aboriginals first migrated here approximately 65,000-40,000 years ago.


This site  is not only enjoyable but also very useful for both teachers and students. It is  clear and well written and has great links that will keep the students informed and entertained.There is a migration timeline for example where students can click on any era and read about the migration history of that period and also look at important objects of the time that are related to that particular period of migration. There are links also to specific cultural groups, such as the Greeks, Italians and Chinese and to further resources on this subject. It also includes fact sheets for teachers.


There are many class activities that can be developed on the basis of this subject and incorporating a global perspective will allow the student to become more aware of other places in the world, other cultures, and respect and value the diverse group of people that they are sharing a classroom with and a home with in Sydney (Browett & Ashman, 2010).


Students could engage in a game of  "Globingo"  to help them start thinking geographically (Gibert & Hoepper, 2010) and looking at global connections  they could then move on to charting the countries represented by the backgrounds of the students in their classroom on a map. This could then lead into the incorporation of other key learning areas such as numeracy and looking at graphs and statistics based on the different cultural groups in the class or to English with students interviewing a family member or friend on their background and migration to Australia.




Browett, J, & Ashman, G., (2010). Thinking Globally. Global perspectives in the early years classroom. Education Services Australian: Carlton South. 


Gilbert,R. & Hoepper,B.(2011). Teaching Society and Environment.  4th Edition. South Melbourne: Cengage Learning Australia.

Catherine Smyth's curator insight, July 9, 2013 3:50 AM

 If you are teaching the Australian Curriculum:history topic, First Contacts, this collection of primary and secondary sources provides information and different perspectives on the topic.