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Plants and animals

The following clips have teachers’ notes related to this topic:

Prickly pear infested areas of Australia

from the newsreel Australasian Gazette – Prickly Pear Infested Areas of Australia (G)

This silent newsreel from approximately 1926 shows bushland in eastern Australia infected with the noxious prickly pear cactus and the efforts of the scientists trying to combat the problem using cochineal insects. These insects are …

Dingo farm

from the documentary The Barefoot Bushman: Dancing With Dingoes (PG)

Dingo farming is legal in Victoria. Dingo farms breed puppies for sale as domestic dogs.

The secret garden

from the television program Catalyst – Wollemi Pine (G)

Our chance to see in close-up this extraordinary living fossil, a survivor from the Jurassic period. And it’s hidden deep in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

Yaks in Tibet

from the documentary China, the Long March (PG)

Tibetan graziers move their families and yaks 30 to 40 kilometres for fresh feeding lands. They pay no taxes but support the local school teacher.

Do animals feel?

from the television program Compass – Paws For Thought (PG)

In Armidale, New South Wales, Lesley Rogers’s and Gisela Kaplan’s work with animals is rewriting the scientific understanding of how animals behave and communicate. Kaplan describes how they must teach a captured young …

Spike the monotreme

from the documentary Echidna the Survivor (G)

Spike, the echidna, forages on land and then goes swimming to cool off.

Echidna birth

from the documentary Echidna the Survivor (G)

The echidna is born as an egg and attaches itself to the underbelly of its mother.

‘It just ain’t penguin’

from the feature film Happy Feet (G)

After a long winter, Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman) prays for the return of the sun. As the thaw begins, the Emperor penguin eggs hatch all over the colony – except for Memphis’s egg. Newborn …

Beekeeping and making honey

from the home movie Holmes, Mr WGA: Locals Cool Off at the Weir, Theodore (G)

We see thousands of bees swarming on frames. A beekeeper uses a ‘smoker’ to blow smoke onto the bees so he can remove one of the frames and brush them off calmly. He uses a …

Inspired detective work

from the television program The Human Journey – Episode 1 (PG)

In June 1997, an inspired piece of scientific investigation by paleoanthropologist Dr Ron Clarke and his team resulted in a remarkable discovery in a cave in South Africa.

Living link kangaroo

from the documentary Hypsi: the Forest Gardener (PG)

We observe zoologist Dr Andrew Dennis as he studies and documents the musky rat-kangaroo, the smallest of the species. It is unique in that it hops on all four paws. It lives in a nest …


from the documentary The Last Husky (G)

It’s minus 40 degrees in the Antarctic, as the husky dog team pull the sledge with two Australians aboard.

Emperor penguin rookery

from the documentary The Last Husky (G)

After being snowed in for five days the husky dog team pulls the sledge with two men aboard to observe the emperor penguin rookery in the Antarctic.

The rabbit plague

from the documentary Life on a Sheep Farm (PG)

Farmers employ various methods to control the rabbit population that is a threat to the available feed for the sheep.

‘Separate and different’

from the television program Nature of Australia – A Separate Creation (G)

This series has magnificent shots of Australia – from the tropics to the edge of Antarctica and across 4,000 kilometres of continent. The program captures the diversity of the country’s unique animal life as …

That bizarre creature, the platypus

from the television program Nature of Australia – A Separate Creation (G)

The platypus up close and very personal; this bizarre creature, which is neither mammal nor marsupial, seemed to be 'a hoax sewn together from the parts of other creatures’, as the early settlers explained it …

Walking on water

from the television program Nature of Australia – Land of Flood and Fire (PG)

There’s a brooding calm before the next storm breaks over the paperbark swamp. The jacana chicks are hatching, watched over by their concerned male parent, while the mother is protecting her patch from other …

A master of camouflage

from the television program Nature of Australia – The Sunburnt Country (G)

The landscape of arid central Australia is scoured and the plateaus worn down to gibber desert. It’s impossible to imagine that any living thing could survive in this environment but the shingleback lizard manages …

The dead heart

from the television program Nature of Australia – The Sunburnt Country (G)

The great expanse of salt that is Lake Eyre sits 15 metres below sea level with temperatures that can soar to 60 degrees Celsius. For the most part, the Lake Eyre dragons – and the ants …

Snow wombat

from the documentary Snow… Down Under (PG)

A wombat forages in the snow of the Mt Kosciuszko National Park. The marsupial finds grasses and roots to eat.

‘A real lost world’

from the documentary Terrible Lizards of Oz (G)

In 1903 geologist William Ferguson found the claw of a carnivorous dinosaur while searching for coal in south-eastern Australia.

Cat hat

from the documentary Wamsley's War (PG)

John Wamsley describes how he was able to get major press coverage for his cause by wearing a hat made of feral cat skins. He says that if you want to attract attention you need …

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