Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.


[Episode 25 | Before Time : Bunda]

Bunda and his brother Garadi are competing with each other to find the best method of transporting water. Bunda constructs a raft to carry the water down the river, while his brother carries his water on foot. Bunda's father then tells his sons to bring him something that takes two to get.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [2]

Activity 1: Problem solving
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Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives; Social order and education
  • As a class, watch the clip Water and explain to the students that Bunda and his older brother Garadi have been set a challenge by their father to collect some fresh water and transport it back to him. While the brothers interpret this task as a competition, in fact their father wants the boys to work together to solve the problem and so collect more water. Ask students to assess the problem-solving abilities of each brother. Ask them to list the positive and negative aspects of each brother's solution. List these aspects on the board.
  • Draw students' attention to the way the filmmakers reinforce this sense of competition through image and sound in the clip. Discuss the use of camera positions to tell the stories of both boys, how the music enhances the tensions and the use of props to add to the reality of the storytelling. Use the Student Activity Sheet E25.5: Problem solving.
  • Focus students' attention on the conversation between the two boys when Garadi says that Bunda made him feel like an 'idiot' and 'useless' to which Bunda replies, 'Now you know how it feels'.

  • Ask students to write a letter from one of the boys' perspectives to their father, apologising for not cooperating with each other on the day of the water task. 
  • Ask students to identity the Indigenous names for five local animals. Some useful websites about Indigenous Australian languages are:
  1. ABC Indigenous, 'Indigenous Language Map', www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/
  2. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, www.aiatsis.gov.au
  • There is also an interactive Aboriginal language CD and dictionary called 'Gayarragi, Winangali' (Find and Hear) created by Larrissa Behrendt which may be useful. It is available for download at:

Gayarragi, Winangali: Find and Hear, http://lah.soas.ac.uk/projects/gw/


Activity 2: Cooperation
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives
  • As a class, watch all of Episode 25 | Before Time: Bunda. On the board, list the activities that Bunda and Garadi's father has asked them to do together. In the list, place a tick next to the activities where the boys have worked together successfully and in a cooperative manner. 
  • As a class, watch the clip Water in which Bunda and Garadi's father tells them he wants them to bring him something that 'takes two to get'. In pairs, have students list some games, sports and hobbies that 'take two'. 
  • Ask students to find out about local Indigenous stories, knowledges and information about water. Be aware that the colonisation process has caused much dispossession of and dislocation from land, language and knowledge. Be aware of local histories in your area and approach these discussions with respect and sensitivity. 
  • Consider ways of working with local Indigenous communities:
  1. Aboriginal Education, Board of Studies, 'Working with Communities', http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/go/7-10/science/working-with-communities
  • Alternatively, ask students to research one other Indigenous language group from Australia to find out about the importance of water and their local environment. Indigenous peoples from across the country have intricate, collective knowledge of their local environment and ingenuity in adapting it to meet their needs. Look at different regions of Australia to find different knowledges, including materials and methods used for collecting water. The Western Desert communities, the North Queensland Cape York communities and the Tasmanian Indigenous communities are different regions to research. The research can be presented as a poster or slideshow presentation.
  • Some useful websites are:
  1. Government of Western Australia, Aboriginal Education, 'Goldfields: Local Resources', www.det.wa.edu.au/aboriginaleducation/apac/detcms/navigation/district-websites/goldfields/local-resources/?oid=com.arsdigita.cms.contenttypes.ArticleSection-id-9554214&tab=Main
  2. ——'Mind Maps', www.det.wa.edu.au/aboriginaleducation/apac/detcms/navigation/mind-maps/

  • Ask students to rewrite the outcome of this clip and to imagine that they are a scientist discovering the water-gathering techniques of an ancient Indigenous community. They have come across the 'myth' or 'legend' of Bunda and Garadi and need to translate it into a story with a moral that teaches others the importance of cooperation.
  • Ask students to use their research of other Indigenous water-finding/gathering techniques to build the story with authentic information. The students can choose any region of Australia to set their myth/legend. They may also illustrate their story.


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