November 2003 By T. Shaw

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My Story

A Banner Bold’

The Diary of Rosa Aarons

A Blooms Taxonomy Literature Unit

November 2003

By T. Shaw

From: A Banner Bold: The diary of Rosa Aarons by Nadia Wheatley

Text copyright Nadia Wheatley, 2000

First published by Scholastic Australia 2000

Reproduced by permission of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd

About the story

Rosa Aarons and her family flee the turmoil of Europe in the year of revolution in 1848. Like so many other refugees, such as Karl Marx they fled to England where they made friends who were Chartists. Seeking a new life free from political and religious persecution the Aaron’s family immigrate to the Victorian goldfields. The Californian gold rush has finished and a rich array of gold seekers from all over the world head for Australia to make their fortune. Rosa keeps a journal of her observations and feelings and adventures, which she shares with her good friend back in England. This is the story of her experiences on the Ballarat goldfields in the climactic year of 1854.

About the Unit

This unit should be taught ideally in conjunction with a visit to the Sovereign Hill schools where over a two day period children experience the life of a school child on the goldfields in the 1850s. ‘A Banner Bold, the Diary of Rosa Aarons’ should be read as a serial with children able to access a wide range of non-fiction books on the discovery of gold. The Blooms Taxonomy approach to curriculum delivery develops the children’s thinking skills and creativity. This unit plan contains hyperlinks to sites, which can be used by teachers and students to enhance their understanding of issues and themes developed in the story.

About the author

Nadia Wheatley
Nadia is recognized as one of the finest writers in Australia. Her first book, Five Times Dizzy, was Commended in the 1983 CBC Awards, and received the NSW Premier’s Special Children’s Book Award.

She has since written several novels for teenagers, including Dancing in the Anzac Deli and The House That Was Eureka, both Commended in the CBC Awards in 1985 and 1986 respectively. Whilst dealing with timeless and universal themes, she was also one of the first children’s authors to display an empathy and understanding of the multicultural experience in Australia.

My Place won the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 1988.

In 1994, Lucy in the Leap Year, published by Omnibus Books, was Honour Book in these same awards.

In 1997, Scholastic Australia released The Greatest Treasure of Charlemagne the King— a picture book account of King Charlemagne learning to read, with bold, rich illustrations by Deborah Klein.


Before the book

Before reading the book the children would benefit from a visit to the Melbourne Immigration Museum and access to background information on some of the characters and events that are mentioned in the story-

  • Raffaello Carboni

  • Sir Charles Hotham

  • ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

  • ‘Don Quixote’

  • ‘Peter Simple’ by Captain Marryat

  • Diary writing

  • Latin

  • Guy Fawkes

  • Peter Lalor

During the Book

Ideally the book should be read as a serial and in conjunction with an excursion to Sovereign Hill to gain empathy with Rosa’s experiences, The Eureka Centre which graphically details the ‘Battle for the Eureka Stockade’, The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery which has the original Eureka flag and the Gold Museum which has a wonderful collection of goldfield’s art and artifacts.


  • Complete a crossword and wordsearch based on the story

  • Read pages 131-136 and complete reading comprehension activities.

  • Reader’s Theatre After reading about being lost in the bush (page 71) Write a short play that can be read aloud (or recorded as a radio play.) about being lost and scared.

  • Design and write a postcard from the goldfields or from Rosa to Jennychen from one of the locations she visited on her way to immigrating to Australia.

  • Complete a story map based on events from the story

  • Storyteller Write a picture storybook version of the Eureka Stockade Battle.

  • Make a bookmark with title, author, illustrator and blurb.

  • Poster Create a poster for the library advertising the book.

  • Acrostic Poem starting with a character name or mining implement or an object related to gold mining or the Eureka Stockade. (I.e. fools gold)


  • Who’s who, Compare and contrast two characters using a Venn diagram (such as Rosa and the Flanagan girls)

  • Guess who Write clues about certain characters and see if students can guess the character.

  • Quotes Match the characters up to their quotes from the story.

  • Lift the Flap Create a lift the flap picture of the National School, the ‘secret Valley’, Rosa’s tent or the immigrant ship.

  • Quiz Time The children write three quiz questions about the story and test the class.

  • Design a set Create a diorama of the stockade or the burning down of the Eureka Hotel.

  • Comic Children create a comic of a dramatic event from the story.

  • Character traits List and give examples of Rosa’s character traits throughout the story.

  • On the voyage to Australia, Sir Charles Hotham shot an albatross, which was considered bad luck. Make a list of actions or events that are considered good and bad luck (i.e. walking under a ladder or finding a four leaf clover)

  • On page 14 the new Governor said ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’. Make a list of sayings and illustrate them for a class frieze.

  • Ballarat is an aboriginal word meaning-‘resting place’. Make a list of other aboriginal place names and their meanings.

  • From Rosa’s perspective write pen portraits of the famous people she meets. (I.e. Raffaello Carboni – ‘A nice Italian with a friendly dog, Napoleon.)


  • Create a travel brochure advertising the benefits of immigration to Australia. (Make the problems such as overcrowding and unsanitary travel conditions seem acceptable.)

  • Write an immigrants handbook for Melbourne or Ballarat in PowerPoint format.

  • Plan a traditional Jewish celebratory meal for Rosa. Rosa often refers to the monotonous diet she has on the diggings (refer page 73) Put Rosa’s diet on a food pyramid. Does she have a well balanced diet?

  • Be a newspaper reporter and write a story about the cave-in (page 77) or the burning down of the Eureka Hotel (page 93)

  • Create a 3-D cardboard doll of a Victorian lady, digger or trooper.

  • Construct a model of some of the mining equipment used on the diggings and explain how it worked.

  • Create a poster advertising a political rally at Bakery Hill (Refer page 97)

  • Create a program for the children’s ‘grand performance’

  • Children should keep a journal while reading the serial. (Include a glossary of interesting words and terms i.e. shicer)

  • Rosa often has vivid dreams, which disturb her. Write about the funniest and scariest dream you’ve ever had.

  • Rosa feels jealous when her friend wins the part of Judith (refer page 88) and starts to peak Latin better than she does. Rosa recognizes these feelings, what can she do to alleviate them?


  • Complete an A-Z Chart about the gold rush.

  • Design a wanted poster for a character from the story.

  • Write a letter to Nadia Wheatley about her book.

  • PMI Complete a PMI chart on living on the goldfields.

  • Complete a six-hats problem solving activity about an episode from the story.

  • Complete a ‘Y Chart’ on the diggings or the battlefield at Eureka.

  • Write an interview between yourself and a character from the story.

  • In the story there are references to books by Captain Marryat (Johnny Simple and Children of the New Forest) and to Don Quixote and also her play about the heroine Judith. Do any of these stories have any link with the turmoil on the goldfields, Rosa’s plight and the eventual rebellion and its aftermath?


  • If Only Write a different ending to the story.

  • Introduce a new character into the story. Write a biography of the character

  • Diary The story is told completely from Rosa’s point of view in her diary. What if other characters from the story kept a diary? Imagine another character writes an extract in diary form. Write the extract and include weather report and sketches as Rosa did.

  • Create a new gold mining tool. Illustrate it or create a model and write how it works.

  • Create a PowerPoint presentation on some matter related to the story.

    • Whooping cough

    • ‘Fools gold’

    • Traditional Chinese medicine

    • The Battle of the Eureka Stockade

    • Early immigration to Australia

    • Bushrangers

    • ‘Children of the New Forest’

    • The Klondike gold rush

    • The stories of Captain Marryat.


  • Complete a ‘for or against’ chart on an issue that could be debated by the class. (I.e. Monarchy v Republic, panning v deep-lead,) On the chart have them write arguments for or against.

  • Complete a ‘Thumbs up and Thumbs Down chart’ Create a chart that lists all the exciting and boring episodes from the story and compare them with those compiled by the rest of the class.

  • Create an alternative book cover and include a review of the story on the front cover.

  • Determine the positive attributes of characters and on Publisher create a merit certificate for that character.

  • What would it be like to be in this story? Place yourself in the story as a student in the National School. Would you be Rosa’s friend?

  • Create a mural of a scene from the story such as- the diggings, the secret valley, the Hotel fire or the trek from Melbourne to Ballarat.

  • Complete a ‘Fishbone’ activity based on the Eureka Rebellion.

  • Complete a KWL Chart on gold mining or the Eureka rebellion.

After reading the Book

After reading the book and experiencing Sovereign Hill the children should put on a display of their work (literature, journals, PowerPoint’s and craft) for their parents together with a damper afternoon tea. Children may like to-

  • Read other books written in the form of diaries or journals.

  • Read ‘Children of the New Forest’ or watch the film.

  • Visit another historical theme park such as ‘Flagstaff Hill’ or the ‘Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement’. Find out more about modern gold mining or jewelry making.

  • Learn some useful Latin phrases.

  • Learn more about Judaism.

The idea behind this unit of work is to provide schools visiting Sovereign Hill with curriculum support to enable them to incorporate literature into their integrated studies on the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s. ‘A Banner Bold’ was chosen because it is easily accessible (It has been in print since 2000), within the reading abilities of children participating in the two-day goldfields immersion process (grade 5-6) and is written by a well-known and talented author. (Every school would have a copy of ‘My Place’ in its library.)

Word and the ‘Times New Roman’ font has been chosen in an attempt to make this work accessible to all teachers regardless of the age of their computers or computer skills.
Thank-you to Scholastic books for giving their permission to reproduce some illustrations and text from the book.
I drew the sketches from existing, contemporary paintings and photographs.
A great deal of my background information comes from the Internet sites found in the bibliography or hyperlinked. Remember to personally check all sites first before allowing children to access them.
Publisher, Word and PowerPoint are all Microsoft products. The Discovery Channels Puzzle maker site was used to create the word search and crossword. Graphic organizer examples can be found simply by typing ‘graphic organizers’ into any search engine.
No assessment checklists or tests are attached to this unit. Teachers should determine what aspects of the unit they wish to use and what they wish to use as a basis for individual student assessment. Refer to ‘In Full Bloom’ for interesting assessment and record keeping suggestions when using Blooms taxonomy.

Tony Shaw

Head teacher

Glen Park Primary School (November 2003)

Science / technology

  • Make a photographic study of Sovereign Hill

  • Make models of mining equipment.

  • Investigate the properties of gold

  • Jewellery making

  • Investigate precious stones.

  • Study erosion and modern gold mining techniques.


Investigate the discovery of gold and its impact on local aborigines and the future of Victoria. How did the sudden impact of mass immigration and the Eureka rebellion effect Victorian society? Investigate life on the gold fields.


  • Investigate pre-decimal weights, measures and currency

  • Graph the value of gold over time.

  • Graph population changes and movements.

Art / craft

  • Flower pressing

  • Design tent flags and alternative Eureka flags

  • Sew a sampler

  • Create a diggings diorama.


  • Create your own bush music instruments.

  • Investigate goldfields songs.

  • Create your own ‘sound and light’ show for your diorama.

Health / P.E.

  • Investigate the type of games played by children in the 1850s.

  • Plan and embark on a local bushwalk. Collect samples and map the route you take.

  • Try bush dancing.

ross – curriculum activities



  • ‘A Banner Bold’, Nadia Wheatley, Scholastic Books, 2003

  • ‘Valley of Gold’, Jackie French, Angus and Robertsons, 2003

  • ‘So Far From Skye’, J. O’Neill, Puffin, 1993


  • ‘The Gold Rushes’ Olga and Mark Fox, Kid Zone Books, 2003

  • ‘Gold Australia’, Tony Cargo, Woollahra Books, 2003

  • ‘Classroom Focus-Gold’, J. Darby, Scolastic Publications, 2003

Teacher reference (Thinking curriculum resources)

  • ‘In Full Bloom’, Tina McDougall, Hawker Brownlow Educational, 2003

  • ‘Activities for Any Literature Unit’, P.Carey, Hawker Brownlow Educational, 1997

Adult reference

  • ‘Nothing but Gold’, Robyn Annear, Text Publishing, 1999

  • ‘Eureka’, John Molony, Melbourne university Press, 2001

  • ‘The Victorians’, A.N. Wilson, Arrow Books, 2002

Relevant Internet sites
Web sites on Raffaello Carboni including e-text of his version of the events that occurred at the Eureka Stockade.




General information about the Eureka Stockade uprising.

  • (The excellent Eureka on trial site)

  • (Comprehensive ‘anarchist’ view of the rebellion.)

  • (The murder of James Scobie)

  • (Adapted excerpts from J. T. Harvey’s, Eureka Rediscovered: In search of the site of the historic stockade, University of Ballarat, 1994.)

  • (The building of the Eureka stockade.)

  • (Child friendly, basic information)

  • (Well written essay)

  • (Eureka diary)

  • (Ballarat historical timeline)

  • (The aftermath of the rebellion.)

  • (Ballarat Reform league meeting and Peter Lalor letter.)

  • (The excellent State Library site.)

  • (Press response)

  • (Site for the film to be made in 2003-04)

  • (Life on the goldfields. Great site. Very good teacher resources.)

  • (The Ballarat Fine Arts Gallery Eureka exhibition.)

Sir Charles Hotham


Don Quixote





Captain Marryot




Diary writing





Guy Fawkes





Peter Lalor



Whooping Cough



Gold Mining and gold






Captain Ross













(Journey on a clipper ship)
Fredrick Vern







Eureka (Teacher’s resource)





Eureka chronology



Charles Doudiet





Karl Marx






California Goldrush






Blooms taxonomy



Jewish museums and immigrant sites







Ecologically sustainable gold mining


Judith Slaying Holofernes



The Gold rush















History sites










Charles Dickens


Useful sites for teachers



Gold Rush links page







A Banner Bold (Wordsearch)

A Banner Bold (crossword)


3. Rosa helped to hide him.

4. Rosa's play was based on this character.

5. Everyone thought he had committed murder.

8. The girl with carrot colored hair

9. A fort

10. 'I have found it!'

12. The new Governor of Victoria


1. A precious metal

2. The book Rosa had to read at school.

4. Rosa wrote to her friend in England.

6. An old language that Rosa was learning.

7. The site of the latest gold rush.

11. The hero of the story.

A Banner Bold

(Reading Comprehension)

  1. Why doesn’t Rosa take a lamp up to the Eureka field?

  2. What constellation blazes above Rosa?

  3. How does Rosa describe the Eureka fence?

  4. Who should be on sentry duty?

  5. What is the name of the creek?

  6. What are the nicknames given to the soldiers and the troopers?

  7. When the attack starts what is Rosa’s main thought?

  8. Where was Mr. Lalor wounded and what did Rosa do to help him?

  9. What happened to Captain Ross?

  10. How long did the battle last?

  11. What happened after the battle to the families in their camps?

  12. How many men were imprisoned?
  13. What does Mama call her baby?

  14. How many diggers died?

  15. Read an alternative report on the battle. How do they differ?

  16. Draw and label the battle scene

The children find some specks of gold in the creek.

Banner Bold
story map (Illustrate and write captions for

events where they occurred in the story)

A Banner Bold (Acrostic poem)

A Banner Bold

Venn diagram

Rosa Aarons Katie Flannagan

A Banner Bold

Guess Who?

STEP 1 Select a character from the story

STEP 2 Fill in the following sentence clues

about your chosen character.

CLUE 1 If I were to tell you how my character looks, I would say that…

CLUE 2 Something my character did was…

CLUE 3 Something my character said was…

CLUE 4 I think the story could/could not (circle one) have happened without my character because….

Read one clue at a time to the class. At the end of each clue, see if anyone can identify the character. If no one can after the last clue then tell the class the name of your character.

My Character is: ……………………………………..
I did/ did not refer to the book
(Idea taken from ‘Activities for Any Literature Unit’. Refer bibliography for publication details.)

A Banner Bold
Match quotes from the story (from page 1 – 88)

(Choose from: Rosa, Katie, Vati, Mama, Signor Carboni, Father Pat,Sir Charles Hotham)

A Banner Bold (comic)

By: …………

A Banner Bold

Character Traits (enlarge to A3 size)

Some of the traits in the list below fit Rosa and some do not. Select 4 traits that best describe her and write them on the chart. Then for each trait, list one action in which she exhibits the trait.

Intelligent funny responsible caring determined

Honest hardworking problem solver confidant generous Co-operative loyal brave


Actions that demonstrate the trait.

A Banner Bold (newspaper Enlarge to A3 size)

The Goldfields Times
Tuesday 19th September 1854 Price 1 penny


























A Banner Bold

Goldfields A-Z (Enlarge to A3 size)

A Banner Bold

Wanted Poster (enlarge to A3 size)



A Banner Bold

PMI Chart




What would you hear?

Banner Bold

‘Y Chart’

What would you feel?

What would you see?

A Banner Bold

(For or against chart)
The issue:

Arguments FOR

Arguments AGAINST

A Banner Bold

(Alternative book cover)

A Banner Bold

(Food Pyramid)

List some of the food that Rosa and her family have eaten during the story. How does it compare to our modern diet? How healthy is his diet? (Enlarge to A3)

Fats, oils and sweets

Meat and dairy

Fruit and vegetables

Grains, bread, rice, pasta.

Also refer this web site: (Kidshealth)

Fish bone diagrams
The fishbone mapping organizer –

  • Helps students visually organize casual relationships in complex ideas or events.

  • To increase awareness of cause and effect.

  • To develop skills in organizing material.


  • Begin by recording the end result of the idea or event to be mapped.

  • Ask students to work backwards by identifying and recording causes of the event or resulting idea or discovery.

  • Students should then analyze the cause s and fill in details about each one.


In literature fishbone diagrams can be used to map a character’s action or the causes leading up to an event in the book. (i.e. Rosa’s involvement in helping Peter Lalor in the aftermath of the Eureka rebellion.)

Below is an example of a fishbone map from Enchanted learning.


A Banner Bold

(Enlarge to A3 size)

A Banner Bold

(KWL Chart. Begin this task before reading the book and complete after the story is completed.)

K (Know)

W (Want to know)

L (What you’ve learnt)

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