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

Water and fire

from the documentary 5 Seasons (G)

Tom E Lewis gives a brief introduction into how Arnhemland society is structured. There are 12 clans in Numbulwar, and the society is divided into two moieties. The two moieties in Arnhemland are water and …

Fort Denison early history

from the newsreel Australia Today – Fort Denison: [Pinchgut]: A Relic of Early Sydney (G)

This clip covers the early history of Fort Denison, from its initial construction in the 1840s as a defence against a feared invasion, to its completion in 1857, and its manning by Royal Artillery men …

European settlement in Byron Bay

from the documentary The Battle for Byron (PG)

The first European settlers in Byron Bay cut the 1,000-year-old cedars. They then farmed, and fished out the whales before moving to a more environmentally friendly attitude.

Papunya: a different world

from the documentary Beating About the Bush (PG)

The 'black and white urban band’ Djaambi arrives at the remote Aboriginal community of Papunya to find no audience, minor flooding and bleak housing conditions for the locals. The band hopes that their visit to …

Path to progress

from the documentary Benny and the Dreamers (G)

After black-and-white footage of Pintubi people, Smithy Zimeran Tjampitjinpa recalls being moved to Papunya. Yuyua Nampitjinpa talks about her experience in the mission school.

Founding of Western Australia

from the documentary Bigger than Texas (PG)

The first images in this clip come from the series Land Looking West. They illustrate how the founder of Western Australia, James Stirling, had a vision of the new colony as one run by British …

Effie in PNG

from the documentary Big Hair Woman (G)

Effie (Mary Coustas) is interviewed by the National Broadcasting Commission’s John Honani. Effie has brought her own self-congratulatory résumé that John reads out before they discuss the role of missionaries in Papua New Guinea.

A world away

from the television program The Colony (PG)

It’s a period of eager anticipation. John Stephenson from South Yorkshire and his 12-year-old son Tyler are learning survival skills that they hope to apply when they are living in the Australian bush. The …

Life on the Hawkesbury River

from the television program The Colony (PG)

The Aboriginal participants introduce the Europeans to some of the bush tucker of the region. Only John and his wife are prepared to try the worm-like carbora, although they know they’ll be a rich …

Rebellious women

from the television program The Colony (PG)

The settler women rebel against the clothing conventions of the early 19th century. Each feels that she can’t work alongside her husband and children unless she is able to adapt those ridiculous European dresses …

Conrad Martens’s New South Wales

from the documentary Conrad Martens (PG)

Watercolourist Conrad Martens settled in NSW in 1835, remaining there until his death in 1878. He painted a valuable visual record of life in the young colony, and we see many examples of early Sydney.

Guns and pigs

from the documentary First Contact (PG)

In interview and voice-over, James Leahy recollects the first time the Leahy brothers came across a new community of highlanders. He explains that, fearful of being outnumbered by large numbers of people they could not …


from the documentary First Contact (PG)

Michael Leahy’s photographs and footage show the highlanders surrounding and looking at a gramophone (with a 1930s recording of ‘Looking on the Bright Side of Life’ playing on the soundtrack). In an interview, later …

Chopping down a tree

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip shows two lumberjacks chopping down a eucalyptus tree in 1920.

Timber carted to the mill

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary show timber logs being rolled and chained onto a horse-drawn cart and transported to the mill.

Logs treated at the mill

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary made in 1920 shows logs being treated and cut into useable timber pieces.

Mill township

from the documentary From the Bush to the Bungalow (PG)

This clip from an industrial documentary is an observational look at a township built in the 1920s for the timber workers.

Port Arthur

from the documentary Ghosts of Port Arthur (G)

The convict history of the Tasmanian settlement of Port Arthur is explained in this clip, with a voice-over accompanying scenes of the site. Convict history is re-enacted to evoke the past. A couple and a …

‘White gold of Australia’

from the feature film Heritage (G)

The great granddaughter of Biddy O’Shea has flown to the Northern Territory station run by Frank Morrison, great grandson of James, to talk about their future together, but they disagree about his ‘prehistoric’ views …

Missionary Hawaii

from the documentary Hula Girls, Imagining Paradise (PG)

Stephen Eisenman, author and Professor of Art History in Illinois, explains the negative impacts of colonialism and imperialism on traditional Tahitian life. English missionaries reformed the ‘sinful natives’ of Hawaii and French missionaries converted many …

Gauguin’s paradise

from the documentary Hula Girls, Imagining Paradise (PG)

Gauguin arrives in Tahiti to find the paradise he longs to paint has almost completely disappeared. But he soon finds models to paint including fourteen-year-old Tahitian girl Teha’amana who also becomes his lover. Stephen …

Irian Jaya’s history

from the documentary The Ice Capped Jungle (PG)

The United Nations gave Indonesia control of Irian Jaya in 1962, despite the protests of the Papuans. Some 20,000 people have since died in conflicts in the highland provinces between the indigenous people and …

Creating a new life

from the television program The Land That Waited (G)

A montage of images, including stills and illustrations, shows the first fleet of convicts and their military guards after landing at Sydney Cove in 1788. Under the leadership of Governor Phillip, they begin building a …

Opening up the west

from the television program The Land That Waited (G)

Graphics, paintings and voice-over tell the story of why it took 30 years for the settlers of New South Wales to cross the Blue Mountains and gain access to the fabulous pasture lands beyond. It …

‘I’m going to cross the river’

from the feature film Mad Dog Morgan (PG)

Morgan (Dennis Hopper) has been shot while stealing a horse. He is rescued by an outcast Aborigine, Billy (David Dalaithngu), who nurses him back to health in the mountains. They decide to seek safety across …

Fighting a fire

from the feature film On Our Selection (G)

The whole family joins a desperate battle to save the fencing around the crops, to no avail. Youngest son Joe (Arthur Wilson) thinks the fire is a splendid sight. Dad (Percy Walshe) sees it as …

Dave in love

from the feature film On Our Selection (G)

Dave (Tal Ordell) dances with glee after he receives a letter from his new sweetheart Lily White (Carmen Coleman). Joe, the youngest Rudd (Arthur Wilson) thinks he’s gone mad. The Rudd women crowd around …

Beginning of The Rocks

from the documentary The Rocks: Sydney, Australia (PG)

This clip uses old paintings and engravings to trace the early history of the Rocks area from its inception.


from the documentary The Sharkcallers of Kontu (PG)

A villager efficiently recounts the colonial history of Papua New Guinea. His comments are illustrated with archival stills.

Banjo’s place

from the sponsored film Snowy Hydro – The Jindabyne Story (PG)

A nostalgic look at life in the district of old Jindabyne, long before the advent of the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

‘The front office doesn’t believe in promises’

from the feature film Stir (PG)

After the transfer of prisoners in the middle of the night, Mr Norton (Max Phipps) comes to apologise to Jackson (Bryan Brown) for the breaking of the deal. Norton talks about the fear he felt …

The St Kilda Esplanade on Boxing Day

from the historical The St Kilda Esplanade on Boxing Day (G)

This silent clip shows the St Kilda esplanade and foreshore on Boxing Day 1913. People relax on the grass, enjoy amusement rides at Luna Park and swim at the beach.

Hunting wombat

from the documentary Wirrangul Women: Always Have, Always Will (G)

Wanda Miller talks about working with Gladys Miller to design language programs that will allow Wirangu to be taught in schools. Wanda’s grandchildren are Wirrangul through her husband. Wombat is the traditional food of …

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