Teacher guide Australia and the First World War - a unit of work

TLF ID R10435

This unit of work for middle and upper secondary students explores the influence of the First World War on the construction of Australian identity. An introductory exploration of the Australian digger myth and legend is followed by five activities framed as investigations. Links are provided to a variety of online resources, including propaganda posters, film clips and official war correspondent reports.

Educational details

Educational value
  • Australia entered the First World War as part of the British Empire. In the first activity students become familiar with the causes of the First World War, and Australia’s entry into the War.
  • Propaganda posters encouraging enlistment made appeals to common understandings of Australian identity, values and loyalties. They also represented war and service in particular ways. For the second activity students investigate appeals to an Australian identity to encourage enlistment during the First World War.
  • War correspondents were instrumental in relaying news of battles and life at the front. The despatches of C E W Bean, war correspondent and later official war historian, were instrumental in depicting Australians in battle. The third activity leads students on an exploration of the descriptions of Australians in battle filed by war correspondents such as Bean in relation to a unique Australian identity.
  • Conscription was a divisive issue for Australian society during the First World War. Both sides of the debate used appeals to an Australian identity to add weight to their arguments. Using newspaper reports and film footage from the time in activity four, students consider the conscription debates.
  • Contemporary constructions of Australian identity often rely on popularly understood characteristics that have their origins in the 'ANZAC legend'. The final activity provides students with the opportunity to consider the place of the ANZAC legend in contemporary constructions of Australian identity.

Other details

  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 07 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Commonwealth of Australia
  • Remarks: Copyright Commonwealth of Australia
  • Content provider
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Teacher guide
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
  • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
  • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
Operating systems
  • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
  • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.