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Listed under:  Science  >  Earth and space  >  Landforms  >  Deserts

Working among vegetation on Antarctica

This is a colour photograph showing a scientist walking across the rocky surface of one of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. In the foreground, patches of moss and lichen can be seen growing around a shallow stream of meltwater.

Moving Image

Conservation research after the desert bloom

Have you ever heard of the cycle of boom and bust? Learn more about the cycle's impact as you follow a group of scientists who survey plants and animals in a remote desert environment. You might be surprised at their form of transportation. Explore the impact on life during a 'boom' period at Ethabuka Reserve, one of Bush ...

Interactive resource

Experience the weather [no spoken instructions]

Explore weather variations in four different environments: desert, mountains, rainforest and polar. Dress a character in clothing suited to the weather conditions: sunny, windy, rainy or snowing.

Tablet friendly (Interactive resource)

Alien life form

Help an alien to understand how plants are adapted to life on Earth. Choose different combinations of leaves, seeds and roots. Design a plant that is best adapted to surviving in a particular environment. Adapt the plant for survival in specific environments: mangroves, cool rainforest, mountain slopes and arid land. Find ...

Interactive resource

Found art: outback

Explore a remote location and create a design using objects found in a woolshed, camp fire, bush and scrap heap. Plan a design to create a functional object. Choose objects and materials. Use tools to arrange elements of your design such as size, position and tone. Arrange the materials to create new meanings. Look at aspects ...

Interactive resource

The night of the bilby: get home alive [ESL]

Look at a desert environment where bilbies and other animals live. Help bilbies to gather food such as seeds, bulbs and spiders. Avoid being eaten by predators such as cats and foxes. Find enough food before the night ends. Then find a burrow to shelter in. Notice that rabbits compete for the same resources as bilbies. ...

Interactive resource

The night of the bilby: safe habitat [ESL]

Survey a desert environment to see if it is a suitable area to release bilbies. Estimate the amount of food available by trapping insects and small animals. Inspect the habitat for animal tracks made by predators or competitors. Fence the area to keep out unwanted animals and then remove any remaining threats. This learning ...


Plants growing on desert sand dune

This photograph, showing plants growing on a desert sand dune, was taken in full sunlight. The plants are sparsely spaced in the loose sand. The red colour of the sand indicates a high level of iron.


National parks: Kings Canyon and Watarrka

This is a colour clip showing some of the landforms, habitats, flora and fauna of national parks and reserves in central Australia. Beginning with Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, the clip describes the canyon's geomorphology and vegetation, including the cycad 'Macrozamia macdonnellii'. The clip shows the many lizards ...


'The back of beyond' - asset 1

This is a still from 'The back of beyond', a 1954 Shell Film Unit documentary. It shows a pioneer homestead, a camel-drawn cart and a sign on a dead tree trunk, which reads '325 [miles] Birdsville'.


1918 film of Burke and Wills - asset 2

This is an image from the 1918 Australian silent film 'A romance of the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860'. It shows three male characters walking through the scrubby desert.


Australian Light Horse troopers

This is an excerpt from a silent documentary made in 1915, entitled 'World War I: Australian troops in the Middle East and France'. This excerpt shows troopers of the Australian Light Horse, part of the ANZAC Mounted Division, riding over sand dunes, presumably in the Sinai Desert.


Australian gunners in action

This is an excerpt from a silent documentary made in 1915, entitled 'World War I: Australian troops in the Middle East and France'. This excerpt shows Australian gunners in action, probably in the Sinai Desert. A cloud of dust is visible in the distance, perhaps indicating the presence of Turkish troops.


A camel train in outback Australia

This is a photograph of a camel driver leading his train, which is laden with mail and other supplies, in outback Australia, probably on the route between Oodnadatta in South Australia and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory in the late 1800s.


Donkey teams

This is an excerpt from a 1928 film entitled 'Twentieth century travel through outback Australia'. The film is the first of a set of silent documentaries entitled 'Round Australia with the MacRobertson Expedition', and was made by members of the expedition. The excerpt shows footage of donkey teams and their teamsters in ...


Repairing a truck on the Nullarbor in 1915

This is a 1915 black-and-white photograph showing a man and a woman working to repair a truck while another man looks on. The whole rear axle and wheels have been removed from the vehicle and spare tyres lie on the ground. The photograph was taken somewhere on the Nullarbor, along the route of the Trans-Australian Railway ...


'Australian exploration, an expedition on the march', 1874

This is a black-and-white print that depicts the ill-fated expedition, led by explorer Peter Egerton Warburton, which attempted to cross central Australia in 1873. The print shows expedition members astride camels with Warburton in the lead and an Aboriginal guide on foot in the desert. The print, which measures 35.5 cm ...


John Forrest's 1874 expedition

This is a 52.5 cm x 69 cm, black-and-white photoengraving, of John and Alexander Forrest, James Sweeney, James Kennedy, Tommy Windich and Tommy Pierre with their horses after crossing the Great Victoria Desert in 1874. On the far right is the Overland Telegraph Line, about 120 kilometres north of Coober Pedy in South Australia. ...


'Widow's Dreaming', 1971

This is a painting made with synthetic polymer paint on board by Long Jack Phillipus Tjakamarra (c1932-), dating from 1971. It is a small painting, measuring 45.5 cm x 48.6 cm (irregular), and is composed of 12 repeated units of design. Each consists of a circle surrounded by four 'Ú' shapes and stick forms. These motifs ...


'The eight Dreamings', 1991

This is a painting in synthetic polymer paint on canvas made in 1991 by Michael Nelson Tjakamarra (c1946-). Measuring 227 cm x 227 cm, the work is a 'dot style' painting that shows a plan-view map of country with various Dreaming sites marked by symbols. The main motif of the composition is a thick red line with five circles ...