Milking time

[Episode 22 | 1798 : Sam]

Sam enters Mr Owen's house through a hole in the roof, and is amazed when he sees his reflection for the first time. After failing to milk the goat, Sam has a difficult night's sleep on his new bed. He uses his ingenuity to dig hard ground.


The Australian curriculum: History

Show curriculum details

The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [2]

Activity 1: Damper
Show details
Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Food; Inventions and electronic media
  • Damper, a simple bread made from flour and water and cooked on a heated hearthstone or in hot ashes, became a daily staple in the diet of the colonists. Damper (or 'Australian bush bread') has come to be an emblem of the Australian bush heritage.
  • Indigenous peoples have ground seeds and grains over many centuries to produce breads and what we now know as damper. When new foods such as wheat flour were introduced, these were also adapted into Indigenous diets and lifestyles. Talk to local Indigenous families about stories and traditions about food that have been passed down through family and how these have changed over time.
  • The following website may be useful. Consider a range of units on the website and talk to local Indigenous people about whether damper was in fact used (or is still used) in your local area and the different ways it is prepared (eg fried as johnny cakes, baked on coals or in camp ovens).
  1. NSW Board of Studies, 'Aboriginal technology: Bushfood',
  • Yeast was not available in the early days of colonisation and so, for the first half-century of colonisation, most rural workers survived on a diet based on the ration which earned the name 'Ten, ten, two and a quarter', being 10 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of meat, 2 pounds of sugar and a quarter-pound of tea. In My Place Episode 22 | 1798: Sam, the convict boy Sam, who has been left by Mr Owen to survive on the farm with only milk from the goat and some flour, makes himself damper to fill his belly.
  • Ask students to research the history of damper. As a class, discuss the problems of securing food supplies which faced the early colonists. List these problems on the board and prioritise them from most important to least important for survival.

  • Ask students to find a traditional recipe that has been passed down within their own family or another family. If necessary, get them to do some research and talk to family members. This could be a tradition for a particular time of the year (eg Christmas, Eid or birthdays) or another cultural tradition. They should write the recipe out so that someone unfamiliar with the food could prepare it, and illustrate the ingredients and/or process. 
  • If possible, have students make the recipe and bring it in to share with the class group. Create a class recipe book with the recipes and include the stories about them: where they come from, who passes them on, why they are used, when they are made and eaten and so on.
  • Have students identify a list of other Australian foods, including Indigenous bushfoods.


Activity 2: Home sweet home
Show details
Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Historical events; Inventions and electronic media
  • In My Place Episode 22 | 1798: Sam, young Sam is left to repair the bark roof of Mr Owen's hut. While Indigenous Australians designed a wide variety of shelters to suit the seasons and the organisation of their families and the lifestyles of different groups, and which were made with many different materials and technologies, the colonists relied on the abundant supply of timber to construct simple homes in their own style. These homes ranged from simple bough shelters with only a roof and no walls, to single-room bark huts and wattle-and-daub huts made by plastering clay over walls made of woven twigs. 
  • Ask students to research the construction techniques used to build the homes of the early colonists, for example, wattle-and-daub construction. A good starting point is Romsey Australia, 'Early settlers' homes and bush huts in Australia',
  • Discuss the building materials available to the early colonists. 
  • Ask students to find images of early bush huts and to look closely at the building materials that were used. Label the images for the materials and construction techniques used.

  • As a class, view My Place Episode 22 | 1798: Sam. Ask students to draw the facade of Mr Owen's hut and a plan of the interior. Ask them to note the building materials used to construct Mr Owen's hut and label these on their drawing and plan.
  • Ask students to consider what materials they could use to create a model of Mr Owen's hut. Think about what naturally occurring materials might be available within the school grounds. Ask students to gather these materials. In small groups, students are to make a model of Mr Owen's hut.


{tpl region name=footerbottom}