Outcomes and Indicators cc 1

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This program is written to facilitate students in Year 4, Stage 2, to meet the outcomes and indicators associated with the Change and Continuity strand. As such a focus has been placed on the unit of work “British Colonisation of Australia”. Within this unit students explore issues related to explorers before the British, Australia’s original inhabitants, British exploration and subsequent occupation and colonisation of Australia.

This program is designed to be implemented in either Term 3 or Term 4. The activities within each lesson aim to engage, stimulate and extend students prior knowledge, and to help them to develop and refine their skills of inquiry, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. This program will also require students to implement skills associated with ICT, particularly when they are required to utilise technology when gathering information.

Outcomes and Indicators

CCS2.1: Describes events and actions related to the British colonisation of Australia and assesses changes and consequences.

  • Explains why terms such as ‘invasion’, ‘exploration’, ‘discovery’, ‘colonisation’, ‘occupation’ and ‘settlement’ reflect different perspectives of the same event.

  • Sequences significant events related to human occupation in Australia

  • Demonstrates an awareness that Australia’s human heritage span many thousands of years

  • Describes the involvement of European countries in Australia’s heritage, eg. Exploration by the Dutch and Portuguese, James Cook, the British Fleet.

  • Identifies the consequences for all Australians of the assumption of terra nullius by the British Government

  • Describes some of the consequences of the British invasion for Aboriginal people, eg. Disease and displacement

  • Explains the roles played by some significant people during the occupation of Australia as a penal colony by the British eg, Arthur Phillip, John Hunter, Reverend Richard Johnson, William Bradley, Arthur Bowes Smyth, Pemulwuy, Arabanoo.

  • Investigates the local area to identify the peoples who originally lived there and those who live there now

  • Selects and uses various sources for reconstructing the past, eg documents, letters, diaries, maps

  • Refers to different viewpoints and perspectives on a significant historical event

  • Describes some of the effects of dispossession on Aboriginal people today

Aims of the Unit

By the end of these lessons students will be able to:

  • Identify Aboriginal groups in their local area prior to and during the time of Colonisation

  • Identify key dates, individuals and local areas that played a role in the British Colonisation of Australia

  • Explain why the colonisation of Australia can also be known by the term ‘invasion’

  • Detail aspects of the history of Australia prior to the arrival of the British including early European exploration, and the lives of Australia’s Indigenous Community prior to colonisation

  • Justify why the British decided to settle in Australia.

Divergent learning needs

Divergent learning needs are accommodated for within this program studying the British Colonisation of Australia. The first lesson of this program has been designed as a Pre Test. Ideally this pre-test lesson would occur well in advance of the rest of the lessons contained within this program. The pre-test provides students with an opportunity to display their level of prior and current knowledge on the topic of the British Colonisation of Australia. Student responses to this task will provide the class teacher with a framework as to the level of prior knowledge on the topic contained by individual students at the class as a whole. Student responses will also highlight early on in the unit, any student that may have a lower level of understanding on this topic, and as such the teacher can program individual student needs into each lessons activities.

Lesson activities provide students with an opportunity to have input into the work they present. Students have opportunities to pursue avenues which appeal to them. For example in Lesson 3: Dutch Explorers, students are required to answer a series of questions when researching an assigned Dutch Explorer. It is within this activity that students have the chance to include in the report, any other information that they came across that may be of interest to them. Open ended questions also feature heavily within this program. Open ended questions allow for low-moderate level students to obtain the required level of knowledge, while at the same time, allowing high level students the opportunity to provide more in-depth answers. Open ended questions will also require students of all abilities to refine their skills of analysis and synthesis. The Comprehension Task in Lesson 6: British Exploration presents students with a series of questions that require them to draw on and exhibit skills of analysis, synthesis as well as skills of evaluation and application. The Comprehension task also includes some higher order thinking questions. The jigsaw group activity in Lesson 4 and 5: Original Inhabitants provides an opportunity in which students of mixed ability may be placed together in a group. Having mixed ability groups ensures that students are encouraged to participate in all activities, and it also encourages students to present their best work. Students of higher learning ability are able to provide assistance to lower learning ability students when required, and in doing so, may be able to deliver information to that student in a way that is easily understood compared to that of the teacher.

Three distinct Extension Activities have been included within this program. These extension activities are designed to be carried over a series of lessons particularly as they require students to gather information, and then evaluate and analyse that information based on the task requirements. Whilst these three extension activities designed as Higher Order thinking activities, they can be tailored to meet the needs of any student.

Literacy, Numeracy and ICT skills

Students when completing this unit are exposed to and are required to draw on and refine skills associated with ICT, Literacy and Numeracy. HSIE is a fantastic subject in which to integrate other curriculums, and this program provides a snap shot of the potential detail of curriculum integration. Throughout this program students are constantly exposed to and use ICT resources. Students are required to use computers and the internet when researching particular topics. Numeracy skills will be drawn on when students are required to develop an accurate timeline mapping the Dutch exploration of Australia as well as the history of Australia’s Aboriginal nations. Numeracy skills will also be used by students when they are required to map the navigational routes taken by the Dutch explorers as well as Captain Cook. Students will draw on their knowledge of text types when writing an argument for the use of the term ‘invasion’ in the final lesson.


This program provides several points in which student understanding of the content can be assessed. An initial assessment will take place with the British Colonisation of Australia pre-test. The pre-test will assess a student’s ability to recall facts, with its main purpose being a teaching tool. This test will not be marked, rather it can be developed upon and given to the students again at the end of the unit. In doing so student acquisition of knowledge regarding this content area will become more obvious. Lesson 4 will see students beginning their lesson with a listening task. The class teacher will dictate a series of points to the students relating to Australia’s original inhabitants. This listening task will assess students abilities to accurately record information dictated to them by the class teacher. Within this task students will also be assessed on spelling, sentence structure and handwriting. The final Lesson will see students present an argument for the use of the term ‘invasion’ when referring to the colonisation of Australia. In doing so, students will need to draw on their understanding of the structure of an argument, as learnt in English. The above are a few lessons with distinct assessment points that could be used when following a summative assessment approach, however more tasks can be included as assessment points within this program if a formative assessment approach were to be followed. Points of formative assessment could take place through observation of a student’s ability to work well within their jigsaw groups.

British Colonisation of Australia

Number/ Title


Learning Experiences

Lesson 1: British Colonisation of Australia Pre Test

  • In order to gauge student’s current knowledge of the topic a pre test will be undertaken. This test will require Ss to complete a mind map in which they write as much information as they can relating to British Colonisation, more specifically ‘Original inhabitants’, ‘Early Exploration’ and ‘Settlers’

  • It will also provide the teacher with an indication as to student’s ability to analyse and synthesise the information they already know, as well as their ability to answer the questions from a variety of perspectives. This question can be attempted again at the end of the unit to see how students have acquired the knowledge and refined it.

  • T will provide instructions as to how to complete this mind map. Ss will have 30min to complete this mind map. After this period of time the class will discuss what they thought of the task, particularly in terms of discussing what they may have already known.

  • T and Ss begin to share with the class any information they may know about the British Colonisation of Australia. This sharing of information will help to encourage Ss curiosity and interest in the topic.

  • Students are to complete a mind map – the mind map will act as a tool in which Ss can record all of the current information and understanding they hold of the topic, British Colonisation of Australia.

Lesson 2: Early Exploration

  • Students learn that before Cook discovered Australia, other Europeans were sailing and trading in the waters surrounding Australia. Here students are exposed to and explore the concept of ‘exploration’, ‘discovery’ and ‘Colonisation’ and what it meant to European countries in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Refer to information sheet in the appendix.

  • Ss look at the countries that made up the East Indies and discuss why they would have been important trading partners. This will help them to link Colonisation and trade expansion as an integral part in the life of Britain and will lead them to a further understanding of why it was important for the British to have a functioning colony in the key trading area of SE Asia, particularly as they were of the belief that they would be the first people to live and trade within Australia.

  • Ss begin to suggest words that they can add to the class word wall relating to early European exploration of Australia. Words to be included: navigation, Dutch, exploration, discovery, trade, Batavia, East Indies and any other words Ss wish to suggest.

  • In this lesson the physical construction of a timeline will begin. As this is only really the first lesson for this unit, Ss are able to document on this timeline any dates or events they perceive to be important based purely on the information they have learnt within this lesson. The timeline is aimed as an ongoing learning tool in which Ss can add to as they learn.

  • T will reproduce the class definitions for exploration, discovery and colonisation onto coloured paper for display within the classroom.

  • Ss write the heading ‘Early Exploration’ in their workbooks. T will provide Ss with key points that they are to record in their workbooks. (Initiate).

  • Ss will come up with their own definitions for ‘exploration’, ‘discovery’ and ‘colonisation’. Ss will then pair and share these definitions. After doing so, Ss with the aid of the teacher will come up with a class definition/understanding for each of these terms which will be displayed in the classroom. (Gather, Analyse, Apply).

  • T will show the interactive map to Ss on the National Library of Australia website http://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/southland/maps-anim.html – this will give them an idea of the extent to which Australia was explored by the Dutch prior to the British arriving. Teacher input and discussion/questioning whilst Ss view the interactive map.

  • Divide class in two – One portion will work on establishing a word wall; the other will work on establishing a timeline. Ss now begin to develop a word wall relating to early European exploration of Australia based on the information learnt so far. This wall will be expanded upon as Ss complete the second lesson on Early Exploration. (Apply).

  • Ss begin to construct a timeline depicting the first documented sightings of Australia, and each time the Dutch explored in and around Australia. T will help the class to establish the length of the timeline; it will be up to the class to decide upon the key which will be used to represent the length of time. Early exploration will be documented on the top half of the timeline i.e above the line, as in lessons to come, the bottom portion or under the line, will be used to document the history of Aboriginal Australia. (Apply).

  • T and Ss reflect upon what they have learnt today, and what other information that would like to pursue.

Lesson 3: Early Exploration

  • Ss will be provided with time to complete any additions to the timeline left over from the previous lesson.

  • Ss explore the names by which Australia was referred to prior to British settlement. Ss do so by studying old maps, Ss look at names such as New Holland and why they were so named i.e different country that explored near Australia had a different term for it. Ss look at these different maps on the NSW state library website. Ss look at the Bonaparte Tasman Map. Ss access a timeline of Dutch Exploration via the “Southland to New Holland” online exhibition on the National Library Website.

  • Ss will be placed in groups and will be given a series of questions to ask; this will be done in pairs or threes within their group. Here students are to also write a timeline of Dutch exploration in their workbooks – this can be done as an entire group to save time, or if students are fast workers they may complete the timeline in a pair or as an individual.

  • Ss will have access to the internet and will access information on the National Library of Australia Website. Ss will also have access to books and information sheets in the event that access to computers or the internet is limited.

  • Within these groups students will be assigned and will investigate a Dutch explorer.

  • Ss will obtain information about Dutch exploration and mapping of Australia via the “Southland to New Holland” online exhibition on the National Library Website. Ss will have access to the computer so that they map access this interactive map, whilst completing their group task. Each group will become experts in their Dutch explorer and the route his ship followed whilst navigating the waters around New Holland (Australia).

  • Ss will finish designing and adding the initial dates of exploration to the timeline. From here on, each time the class learns about European contact/discoveries/exploration of Australia, they will add these instances to the timeline.

  • T will separate Ss into several groups. Ss are required to in pairs research on the NSW State Library Website and the National Library of Australia website answers to a series of questions given to them, they are to also write a timeline of Dutch exploration in their work books. A timeline on Dutch exploration is accessible via the online exhibition “Southland to New Holland” on the National Library Website. Ss will later use this information when developing a large class map showing the trade and navigation routes around Australia taken by the Dutch. (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • T will assign each group a Dutch explorer to investigate. The groups will do this research after they have answered the questions and completed the timeline of events in their work books. (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • As the group is researching, 1-2 group members will have access to a large map of Australia. Each group will map the route taken by their Dutch explorer when navigating around Australia. T will help Ss when mapping these trade and navigation routes. (Apply).

  • Toward the end of the lesson, Ss will come together and present information relating to their explorer to the rest of the class. (Synthesise, Apply, Reflection).

Lesson 4: Original Inhabitants

  • The first half of this lesson will be teacher input with the second half comprising of Ss starting to form their jigsaw groups. Key points relating to the history of Aborigines in Australia will be given to the Ss by the T, undoing so initiating their interest in the topic. Ss explore that there were many different languages and Aboriginal groups existing in Australia at the time of European exploration and colonisation. Ss will be given information regarding historical dating of Aborigines on the Australian Continent.

  • Languages group – AIATSIS “Collectors of Words” Online Exhibition http://www1.aiatsis.gov.au/exhibitions/languages/lang_hm.html

  • Ss record information regarding Aboriginal History given to them by the teacher. This type of dictation will act as a form of assessment. Ss will be assessed on their ability to listen to the information given to them, and their ability to record that information and an established rate. Ss will also be assessed on their spelling, handwriting and presentation. (Gather, Apply).

  • After Ss have recorded the above information, Ss begin to construct a timeline representing the history of Aboriginal peoples in Australia. They will situate this timeline in relation to the one previously completed in regards to dating early exploration. Ss will be placed in pairs and will be responsible for adding particular events to the timeline. Pairs can take turns adding to the timeline. This can be done throughout the next group activity as a method of saving time. (Synthesise, Apply).

  • T will assign Ss to a particular group relating to the study of Aborigines prior to colonisation:- Food, Lifestyle, Language/oral history and paintings. This will be the group Ss will be in for the next lessons jigsaw group activity. In groups Ss will begin to find their information, with the activity to be continued next lesson. Ss try to find information at home to bring next lesson. T will already have taken books out of the school library for the groups to use. (Gather, Analyse).

Lesson 5: Original Inhabitants

  • Ss resume and complete their Jigsaw Group activity.

  • Towards the end of the lesson Ss will have the opportunity to present some of the points they discussed in their groups.

  • Ss form class statements relating to topics researched

  • Class will then have a discussion on what they have learnt about the history of Aboriginals in Australia. This history will relate to Food, Lifestyle, Language and oral history and Paintings. These jigsaw groups will help Ss to become experts in a given field. It will also help to encourage their curiosity as well as their skills of enquiry as they engage other members of their group through a discussion of what they discovered when researching their topic.

  • Jigsaw Groups: Study of Aborigines prior to colonisation

  • Food

  • Lifestyle

  • Language/s oral history

  • Paintings

  • Ss will have information in their own books, and then once they have all been given the information on the other topics, as a group they are to establish what they think are the main/most interesting points within those categories; groups will be called up one at a time and will need to write under a display on the board one main point their group came up with for each category. This will become a whole class display, comprised of information that Ss have gathered as an expert group, analysed for its relevance, synthesised and applied within their jigsaw group, and synthesised, analysed and applied this information again when establishing what points they want to display on the class sheet. (Synthesise, Apply).

  • Ss develop a Class statement that applies to the area studied in relation to the key points presented by all groups.

Lesson 6: British Exploration

  • In this lesson Ss will be introduced to the term Terra Nullius.

  • Ss will also focus on Captain James Cook, his exploration and his writings on his interactions with the local indigenous population.

  • Ss will view clip “Captain Cook Claims NSW”. http://dl.screenaustralia.gov.au/module/1319/. Whilst watching this clip, Ss are to take notes, paying attention to the type of language Cook uses to describe the Aboriginals he is with.

  • When investigating Captain Cook and his documentation of his exploration of the east coast of Australia, the T will help Ss to focus on the language used to describe the Aboriginals i.e ‘natives’....and why we don’t use this terminology today.

  • Ss read the timeline of Cook’s initial journey around Australia and discuss that there is evidence in this timeline to show that Terra Nullius did not exist at the time Cook began to explore Australia.

  • Use reference sheets from Sydney Tower Unit of Work

  • Ss write some reasons as to why they think Cook would have claimed Terra Nullius when evidence suggests he knew about the Aboriginal inhabitants all along. This task will help students to develop their inquiry skills as they will need to think outside of the information they have been given.

  • Look at Cook and Banks initial assessment of Botany Bay and why they thought it would be appropriate for a future colony, look at advantages of the landscape.

  • Through the Cook comprehension activity Ss study why Australia became of interest to a European country nearly a hundred years after it had been first sighted.

  • Introduce Ss to the term Terra Nullius –T leads a whole class discussion on Terra Nullius. Ss are encouraged to explore what they may or may not know about this term. T encourages Ss thoughts through a series of questions: “Who has heard this term used before?”; “Why and when is this term used; “What does this term describe/mean, “How does this term relate to the history of Australia?”. They are to record this information in their work books. (Initiate).

  • Ss are also encouraged to share any prior knowledge they have of this term with the whole class. After the discussion Ss are provided with a definition and a brief explanation of the term.

  • T and Ss will explore Captain Cook’s use of this term and how it had an impact on the existence of the Aboriginal community within Australia. (Gather, Analyse).

  • T leads a class focus and exploration of Captain Cook’s Journey around Australia and the different encounters he had with the Aboriginal community. Ss study different accounts of these encounters. T will encourage Ss to focus on the language used in the accounts; they are to focus on how the Aboriginals were being depicted. Ss answer the question “Why would Cook have claimed Terra Nullius when there is evidence in his journals that he saw and interacted with local Aboriginal groups?” (Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • Ss also study Captain James Cook and his role in the exploration of Australia through a comprehension activity. (Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • At the end of the lesson there will be a whole class discussion of what students enjoyed learning about within this lesson. (Reflection).

Extension Activity – What effect did the British assumption of Terra Nullius have on Aboriginal people throughout the early years of Australia?

Lesson 7: La Perouse Case Study

  • Ss undertake a case study of the NSW suburb of La Perouse. They look at its location, why and how it was discovered, and close study of the local Aboriginal groups and the impact of early European contact on these local groups. Also look at the French perspective of La Perouse; what they liked about it and why they inhabited the area for such a short time. Ss also research the role Joseph Bank’s played in encouraging the British to colonise Australia.

See Lesson Plan

  • Students look at the Aboriginal Groups of the local area, why La Perouse is important to look at in relation to colonisation, Impact of Colonisation on the local community of Aboriginals

Extension Activity – Describe some of the effects of disease and dispossession on Aboriginal people today, with reference to the Aboriginal nation living in the La Perouse area.

Lesson 8: Colonisation

  • Ss study the role of Arthur Phillip in the establishment of the NSW colony – the areas he chose and why

  • Ss look at the initial responses by the British colonisers to the local Indigenous population through the use of primary sources. They will do so in reading an excerpt from John Hunter’s Journal.

  • Ss learn about the role Arthur Phillip played in the colonisation of Australia. Ss also study transcripts of letters and journals he wrote, providing his personal perspective on the establishment of the colony as well as his interactions with the local Aboriginal groups he encountered.

  • T provides Ss with a background to Arthur Phillip. (Initiate).

  • Ss learn about the role Arthur Phillip played in the colonisation of Australia by studying transcripts of his letters and journals and answering a series of questions. (Gather, Analyse)

  • Ss do a comprehension task – Ss read an excerpt from John Hunter’s Journal and answer a series of questions relating to the way he has depicted the local Aboriginal people he came in contact with. (Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

Extension Activity – research Aboriginal perspectives on the landing of the first fleet. Attempt to locate Aboriginal perspectives on their encounters with the British. (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

Lesson 9: Colonisation

  • Ss learn about the early conditions, and key individuals involved in the establishment of the NSW colony through a series of different sources.

  • Ss will listen to transcripts of letters and journal entries made by Arthur Phillip, Reverend Richard Johnson, William Bradley, John Hunter and Arthur Bowes Smyth. Ss will answer questions relating to each individual’s perspectives of life in the early NSW colony.

  • Ss will also have the opportunity to research one of these men.

  • After brief teacher input into the conditions faced by early colonisers, the T will hand out to Ss their ‘Sydney Cove Contract’.

  • Ss are to spend the lesson working through this contract. Ss will work both individually and with a partner. They will have access to the internet, information sheets and text books. (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • Ss will choose one of these men to research in greater detail with a focus on the role they played within the early colony, and will find evidence of their importance/impact. For example have they had places named after them? If so what would is this telling us about that individual? (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

Lesson 10: Colonisation

  • Introduce Ss to the idea that invasion, occupation, settlement, exploration and discovery are all different perspectives of the same event

  • Resistance – Ss study Aboriginal resistance to the establishment of the colony in NSW using examples of Pemulwuy and Arabanoo.

  • T draws on information on Aboriginal resistance to colonisation from the Marrickville Council Website “Cadigal Wangal”. Look at the mission statement. Ss can use this mission statement as an example of the term ‘invaders’ being used to refer to the British as well as an example of the term ‘invasion’ being used to refer to ‘colonisation’. See appendix

  • Ss explore why some people may refer to the colonisation of Australia as the Invasion of Australia. Why would it be considered an invasion?

  • Class discussion on idea of invasion not colonisation.

  • Teacher provides definitions of Colonisation and Invasion for students to draw on when completing assessment.

  • Information on documented cases of Aboriginal resistance can be found on the Board of Studies website by accessing the resources section. The BOS has an extensive timeline documenting cases of Aboriginal resistance against the British settlers. The Marrickville Council website “Cadigal Wangal” also has relevant information on Aboriginal resistance to British invasion. See appendix.

  • T and Ss explore what they think the difference is between invasion, occupation, settlement, exploration and discovery. Ss look to previously established definitions of exploration, discovery and colonisation. (Gather, Analyse).

  • Ss will write down what they believe to be the definition of invasion, occupation and settlement. Ss will then pair and share their ideas. (Synthesise, Apply).

  • Ss will use these definitions to come up with a class understanding of these other terms. T will encourage Ss to look for similarities and differences between these terms. T encourages Ss to think of these terms as representing different perspectives of the same event. (Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

  • T and Ss explore Aboriginal resistance to colonisation. Ss explore documented examples such as that of Pemulwuy and Arabanoo. (Gather, Analyse).

  • After exploring this Ss discuss why colonisation can be considered invasion. (Analyse, Synthesise)

  • Ss write an argument for the use of the term invasion when discussing the British Colonisation of Australia – Ss should refer to what constitutes an invasion i.e resistance

  • ASSESSMENT POINT. Ss are to put forward a case describing why it is appropriate for the term invasion to be used. They should explain the difference between colonisation and invasion, making reference to the case of Australia, use examples from the unit so far. (Gather, Analyse, Synthesise, Apply).

Early Exploration Information Sheet

A small ship named the Duyfken (Little Dove) under the command of Willem Janszoon sighted Australia in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606.

Louis de Torres was a Portuguese sailor working for Spain. He wanted to find a quicker route to the East Indies trading area. In 1606 he found a short cut by passing through the strait between Australia and New Guinea; we now call this area the Torres Strait. However his discovery was not made known at the time. He came so close to sighting Australia that it was possible that he or one of his crew members did sight it but was not aware of what it was.

After many years of trading in the East Indies the Dutch were becoming more powerful. Once they held the majority of trading control in the East Indies, they began to find a quicker way to get their ships from Holland to the East Indies. In trying to find a mysterious “Island of Gold” Janszoon sailed through the Torres Strait and after being thrown off course by the numerous reefs and islands, stumbled across the landmass now known as Australia. The Dutch however did not show much of an interest in Australia initially, particularly as they worked out that the country appeared to be too dry for an Island of Gold.

Abel Tasman

The Dutch had already discovered the west coast of New Holland (Australia) and began to focus their attention back towards the discovery of the Great South Land. Abel Tasman was commissioned by the Dutch in 1642 to further explore the area towards the east of New Holland.

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