This little piggy

[Episode 19 | 1828 : Alice]

Alice and her family are delivering food to the indentured convicts working at the stone quarry when they have the idea of organising a pig race for the half-day holiday.


The Australian curriculum: History

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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 [1]

Activity 1: Working conditions
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Culture; Gender roles and stereotypes

In this clip, Alice's father announces that the convict workers will have a half-day holiday. The convicts are on assignment to the Owen family to build their house. They need to quarry the stone in order to finish the work by Christmas. Alice's father is their supervisor. Many convicts were not skilled for their work and toiled from dawn to dusk. Working conditions in 1828 were very different from what we expect of an Australian workplace today.

  • After viewing the clip This little piggy have a class discussion about workers' rights in Australia today and how these were different in Alice's day. Today there are strict laws governing the rights of workers that cover safety, length of hours, types of work performed, age of workers, holidays and what happens when someone has an accident or is sick.
  • Ask students to create a timeline of key events for the introduction of laws relating to working conditions in Australia.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Eight Hour Day,
  2. State Library of Victoria, 'Fight for Rights',
  • In the 1820s, workers including children could be expected to work very long hours. To allow students to reflect on how difficult life was in this time, they should complete the Student Activity Sheet H19.2 Working conditions recording their own working, sleeping, eating and recreation habits.
  • Using the Student Activity Sheet H19.2 Working conditions, ask students to answer the following questions:
  1. How many hours are they are at school each day?
  2. How many hours do they usually sleep?
  3. How many hours are left for eating, play, music practice, sports etc?

  • Ask students to imagine that school days have been increased to 16 hours long and include Saturdays. Have students answer the following questions:
  1. What would this mean for the time you had for sleep and play? 
  2. How would you feel about having to work or go to school for 16 hours a day?
  • Students should draw up a 16-hour schedule for a 10-year-old child working in the early 1800s and compare it to a child's schedule today.
  • Alternatively, students can create a vodcast advertisement bringing people's attention to the poor working conditions that some people still face every day.


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