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Listed under:  History  >  Historical inquiry
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Ken Burns on historical documentaries

How can TV documentaries help us to understand the past? Ken Burns is a highly regarded American television documentary maker. He has made outstanding historical documentaries on such topics as the American Civil War, baseball, jazz and the 1930s Depression. In this 2004 ABC Words program, Burns speaks to James Griffin ...

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Baudin arrives in New Holland

Imagine the excitement of Nicolas Baudin and his scientists when they reach 'New Holland'. After seven months at sea they can finally explore this strange new land. This clip describes the thrill and the tragedy of Baudin's first days in 'New Holland'.

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Tragic consequences of Japan's modernisation

Japan went through a remarkable transformation between 1868 and the death of the Emperor Meiji in 1912. But Japan's modernisation was accompanied by its rise as an imperialist power, with tragic results. Watch this clip to learn about the consequences of Japan's dream of empire. This clip is last in a series of six.

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Wedding cake survives World War I

When studying history, how useful are primary sources? For example, we may know from secondary sources how valued personal effects and mementos were to soldiers fighting in trenches overseas during World War I. What is the effect of having something like this wedding cake, a primary source, to validate this proposition?

Interactive Resource

A soldier's war: Gallipoli

This Stage 5 resource looks at the Gallipoli campaign through the eyes of soldiers, nurses and the media. Students examine their diaries and letters as well as considering the nature of the warfare and the tactics involved before producing a documentary of the campaign. The resource will support the introduction of the ...

Interactive Resource

Charles Bean's war

This Stage 5 resource supports the introduction of the new history syllabus and dovetails with the World War I Centenary commemorative events and publications. The resource encourages students to think about the motives, controls and restrictions that affected Charles Bean's different representations of Australia's role ...

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Sedge hunting baskets, 1936, 1980s

These are four hunting baskets from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. All are made from sedge grass. The top bag on the left and the two at the bottom were made in the late 1980s, while the bag on the top right-hand side was collected in 1936. The oldest bag is 113.5 cm high, 51 cm wide and 28 cm in diameter. The other ...

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Indigenous shell forehead band from the Cooktown area, pre-1905

This is an Indigenous shell forehead band made from 59 rectangular pieces of nautilus shell, each with a centrally drilled hole. The shell pieces are threaded onto a double strand of handspun bark-fibre string. A strand of red plant fibre has been wound around the part of the string that would touch the skin. The total ...

Teacher resource

Our nation: then and now - teacher resource

This is a resource about analysing photographs taken at the time of Federation and comparing them with contemporary photographs. It includes a set of eight photographs and a suggestion about where to find more. The resource also contains detailed suggestions about how students should examine the photographs, a Federation ...

Teacher resource

Multicultural stories - unit of work

This is a unit of work about immigration to Australia. Intended for middle secondary students, the unit is organised around historical research into three areas: the reason/s that people left their homelands, the contributions migrants have made and possible motivations for their contributions, and the history of Australia's ...

Teacher resource

Australia and World War I - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work about World War I, in particular Australia's participation in the war and how it affected and continues to affect the nation's sense of identity. Intended for upper secondary students, the unit is organised around five areas of investigation: the origins of World War I; how Australians saw ...

Teacher resource

The people make a nation - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work about how Australia became a federation and how its federal system of government works. It comes from the 'Discovering democracy' series of units and is organised around four focus questions explored through sequences of learning that include suggested student activities and assessment tasks. ...

Teacher resource

Democratic struggles - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work about how democratic rights were achieved in Britain and Australia. It comes from the 'Discovering democracy' series of units and is organised around five focus questions explored through sequences of learning that include student worksheets and assessment tasks. Three of the focus questions ...

Teacher resource

What sort of nation? - unit of work

This is an extended unit of work about the sort of nation Australia was and is now, how immigration and economic factors have shaped the kind of nation we are, and the sort of country we want to be in the future. It comes from the 'Discovering democracy' series of units and is organised around five focus questions that ...

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ABC national TV service: opening night, 1956

Can you imagine life before television? How different would it have been? This clip is taken from the opening moments of the first ABC television broadcast in 1956. As you watch it, see how the presenter describes the event and try to imagine the impact such first broadcasts would have had on Australians more than half ...

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Home sweet home: the 'Australian Dream'

Would you rather live in a freestanding house on a large block in an outer suburb or in an apartment with the convenience of being closer to the city centre? This clip from a 1968 Four Corners program explores the 'Australian Dream' of home ownership and attempts to discover why it became so important to the post-World ...

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TV killed the radio star

Can you imagine a time when, instead of watching dramas at home on a screen, people listened to them on the radio - a time when the most popular of those dramas were made in Australia? This Four Corners program from 1964 examines the reasons for the death of Australian radio serials, the role played by television in their ...

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Cambodian refugees

How do people become refugees? From the late 1960s, the small Southeast Asian nation of Cambodia was dragged into a war that was not of its making. Many thousands of its people suffered terribly when their country was caught up in the Vietnam War. Watch as ABC reporter Andrew Swanton covers the flight of refugees into the ...

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'Carn a Saints': Aussie Rules and popular culture

How important is sport to Australians and how big a part of Australian popular culture is sport? This Four Corners program looks at the 1965 Victorian Football League (VFL) Grand Final between the St Kilda Saints and the Essendon Bombers. Discover the passion and excitement of the event and how much it meant to Australia ...

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The Duracks: an Australian dynasty

What sort of relationships did outback Australia's early colonists have with Indigenous people? Irish immigrant Patrick Durack (1834-98) was already a successful pastoralist when he took control of vast lands in the Kimberley region in the 1880s. In this clip, discover what life was like for generations of Duracks, particularly ...