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Rescooped by Library fun from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture!

My country: Difference Differently

My country: Difference Differently | Pathfinders |

For thousands of years different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have maintained connections to particular areas of Australia.  They often refer to their traditional lands as 'country'.  In this activity you will explore the importance of country.

Watch the following video where two Aboriginal people, Lex and Baressa, talk about their country and what it means to them.

Via Maree Whiteley
Maree Whiteley's curator insight, October 15, 2013 10:08 PM

AC Geography Foundation Year: People live in places

CD - The Countries/Places that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples belong to in the local area and why they are important to them.

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State Library of New South Wales collection

State Library of New South Wales collection | Pathfinders |
The State Library of New South Wales' major subject strengths are Australian history, culture and literature, including Aboriginal studies, Antarctic exploration, family history and genealogy,...

Via Raya Darcy
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Rescooped by Library fun from Geographical Terminology Stage 2 (Cardinal Directions)!

What are song lines? - YouTube

Colin Jones, lecturer in Aboriginal History, talks about his culture, his history and his art.

Via Nicoletta
Nicoletta's curator insight, April 7, 2014 3:58 AM

This YouTube clip explores cardinal direction, songlines and the navigational tools of Indigenous Australians. This is a short and simple explanation that defines songlines as oral maps.


The HSIE K-6 Syllabus emphasises the importance of incorporating the Aboriginal Perspective within the classroom. This is a great opportunity for teachers to do that. One of the outcomes in stage 2 of the HSIE syllabus is ENS2.5 that requires students to explore certain geographical terminology, including cardinal directions. This clip highlights the importance of cardinal directions to many Indigenous Australian groups and how cardinal direction and other navigational tools informed many traditions and ways of life, for example facilitating trade between Aboriginal communities across Australia.

The concept of songlines as oral maps of the land is a concept that would be engaging and exciting for stage 2 students. It also consolidates teaching about cardinal directions.

The following is an activity that can be adapted from the information explored in this paper to support the outcome ENS2.5 in particular subject matter relating to cardinal directions and geographical terminology.




1. Teachers should read ‘Songlines and Navigation in Wardaman and other Aboriginal Cultures’ by Norris and Harney.  This is a very insightful read for teachers in relation to Aboriginal culture, traditions, navigation, trade and much more. Much of the content of this paper is related to a range of K-6 HSIE topics and teachers can adapt aspects of the content in an age appropriate manner for their students.



2. Teachers can invite an Aboriginal Elder from the local community into the classroom to discuss with students the importance of Songlines to Indigenous Australians and to share some examples of simple Songlines with the students.


Mapping and Treasure Hunt:


In small groups students are asked to hide some treasure in the classroom. The students must then create two different treasure maps that can be used to locate the hidden treasure. One map will be a visual map (either computer generated or drawn by hand) and the other is an oral map or songline. Students are to try to navigate their fellow group members to find the hidden treasure (in the classroom) using firstly the visual map and then the songline. Students are to use the four cardinal directions to inform their maps. For example, head east ten steps then turn to the north and walk two steps.


Tip: Teachers can put markers on the classroom walls to indicate the four cardinal directions.


Reference List:


Board of Studies. (2006). Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. NSW: Board of Studies.




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A  Pathfinder  is a guide to locating a range of suitable resources that may be online and/or offline. It guides students through these resources for a specific subject area or topic to achieve a...
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Good links for pathfinders on this site.

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