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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 ...

Moving Image

When it rains in the desert

The desert in Australia's arid centre has a variable climate. When it rains, the landscape around Uluru is transformed. Watch this clip to see how desert plants and animals respond, such as the desert oaks that bloom and attract honeyeaters. The rains provide water and stimulate new growth, a signal for Red Kangaroos and ...

Moving Image

Connecting with Aboriginal desert art

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the centre of Australia is a desert landscape where some highly adapted plants and animals live. Aboriginal peoples' knowledge of and close connection to the land and its wildlife is expressed through their artwork. See how an Aboriginal painting depicts the desert after rains.

Moving Image

The dynamic Tanami Desert

In the Red Centre of Australia, the Tanami Desert is alive with wildlife, including rare native animals and feral pests. Local Aboriginal people are helping scientists to research the impact feral cats have on wildlife. Watch this clip to see incredible footage of the desert, its people and its animals.

Moving Image

A haven in the harsh desert heat

Watarrka National Park in central Australia is home to many plants and animals. Here, Kings Canyon, with its high sandstone walls, is a haven for rare and ancient plants. Temperatures soar in the desert but many different lizards thrive here. Venture deep into the Red Centre and discover why this is an important environment ...

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

Sonic space: remote region

Create your own soundscape from noises around a remote roadhouse. Explore sounds such as a road train idling and an eagle calling. Think about the images and atmosphere suggested by these sounds. Arrange the sounds to make a soundscape. Experiment with order, volume, pauses and repetition. Describe possible uses of your ...

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.


'The back of beyond' - asset 2

This is a still from the famous 1954 Shell Film Unit documentary film 'The back of beyond', showing a mail truck driving along Cooper Crossing, 203 kilometres north of Marree on the Birdsville Track.


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.