[Episode 20 | 1818 : Charles]

Unlike his posh older brother John, Charles is enjoying building a fence on the farm. At the end of the fence line he encounters Liam, a convict who is on the run. Liam asks Charles to bring him some food and boots.


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: Character profiling
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Subtheme(s): Character; Chores, business and employment; Language and scripting
  • In this clip, we meet a variety of different characters; Charles (the youngest son of Mr Owen), John (Charles' elder brother), Sam (the former convict), Liam (the escaped convict) and Sarah (the maid). As a class, view the clip and list the characters that appear. To become familiar with their different personalities, have students select and discuss their favourite character and their least favourite character. Ask students to select a partner and, in pairs, list three characteristics of their favourite character and another three characteristics of their least favourite character. Ask each pair to share these perceptions with the rest of the class.
  • Ask students to create mini-profiles of each of the characters once they are familiar with the clip. Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E20.1 Character profiling. A mini-profile is a summary of various features of a character and includes the following characteristics: physical appearance, the work they are required to perform, their age and gender, the language they use and the manner in which they speak.
  • Using their mini-profiles as the basis of the students' research, conduct a hot seat role-play where each student elects to be one of the characters in the hot seat. The rest of the class questions them about their life and beliefs. The student then answers these questions while in character. Ensure that students respond using the appropriate language (eg slang if being Sam), tone (eg bossy, if being John), words and accent, if possible.

  • Ask students to imagine they are one of the characters in the clip. Have them write a short letter to a friend in England, or a diary entry, in which they describe the farm, how they feel about living and/or working on the farm, their opinion of the other characters on the farm and also a list of the work they do. As with the role-play, the students should aim to write in the style of the character, using the language, tone, style and words most suitable for their chosen character.


Activity 2: Workers' roles
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Language and scripting; Social order and education
  • In this clip, we are introduced to the world of work on a farm. As a class, make a list of the different jobs that the workmen are doing in this clip. Ask students to list and describe three types of work the workmen are performing and five adjectives to describe the work the men do. Review the clip and ask the students to focus on the lack of complex technologies that the farm uses, for example, machinery and equipment. Ask students how this lack of complex technology might impact on the work the men have to do in this time (1818).
  • As a class, view the entire episode. Ask students to compare the physical appearance of the workers with that of their boss; Charles' father, Mr. Owen. Ask students the following question:
  1. Why is Mr Owen so much better dressed and well groomed than the workmen?
  • Discuss the idea of the farm labourers being convicts.
  • If available, read an extract from chapter 18, '1818', of the picture book My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. It starts with 'Father is mostly in Sydney…, but I want to be a farmer'. Ask the students to explore how the author wants the readers to visually interpret where Charles and his family live. Ask students to compare their visual interpretation from reading the passage with how the episode represents the life of Charles and his family.
  • The only female character in the clip who works for the family is Sarah. In small groups, ask students to list the type of chores (work) she does for the family. Ask them to evaluate why Sarah doesn't do any of the labouring work. Ask students to consider the work of women today. As a class discussion, have students evaluate how attitudes to women in the workforce have changed since 1818. Have students note that Sarah does not talk, nor is she spoken to, in the clip. Ask students for an explanation and their opinion about Sarah's silence.
  • Although Charles and John are children, they are helping the men with the work. Ask students to form pairs and have them list the types of chores that they complete at home. Then have them compare these with the chores Charles and John have to do on the farm.

  • Ask students to compare the chores of children in 1818 compared to today. They should particularly note the work of John and Charles. This comparison can be displayed in a Venn diagram.
  • John's and Charles' lives on the farm are difficult because most chores were completed with simple implements, and by hand. Ask students to research what machinery and technologies farmers use today to assist them with their work. Once again, this comparison can be illustrated by a Venn diagram.


Student Activity Sheet E20.2: Workers' roles

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