The bets

[Episode 19 | 1828 : Alice]

Alice is training her piglet Wilhelmina for the pig race but is unable to convince any of the local workers to bet any money on her. Freddie the bookie is concerned at the thought of losing money as most of the locals have bet on Oink, the favourite.


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 [2]

Activity 1: Boats
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Historical events; Transport

Transport by boat was common in 1828 due to the period's comparative lack of roads and bridges. Boats carried not only people, but also valuable supplies and information.

  • Ask students to reflect on why boats were useful in Alice's day. As a class, discuss how this might have affected where people lived and worked at the time.
  • Students should research early-19th-century boats and their sailing routes. On a map, ask students to mark out routes that ships used in Alice's era.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Discover Murray River, 'History of the Murray River', 
  2. National Museum of Australia Canberra, 'Australian Paddle Steaming History', 
  3. Paddle Steamers of Australia,
  • The following questions can be used to focus students' research:
  1. How important was transportation by boat in the 1820s? Why?
  2. Where were the key sea/river ports during the 1820s in Australia?
  3. Do these sea/river ports still exist today? Where?
  4. How has the use of boats for transport changed today in comparison to the early 1800s in Australia?
  5. What types of boats were used for transportation in the 1820s compared to those today?
  6. Are there still boats operating today that were used for transport in the 1820s?


  • Ask the students to pretend that they are the captain of a river boat or sea vessel in the 1820s. They should consider the work of the boat, the passengers or cargo that they pick up and unload, where they travel to for their work and what might happen to them along the way. Ask students to write a captain's logbook for a week on a river/sea boat.


Activity 2: Convict labour
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Culture; Historical events

The early colonial settlement of Sydney was relatively small. As the colony expanded, many new buildings and other infrastructure were built. This required a labour force that was capable of strong, hard, physical labour. Many of the workers in Alice's era were either assigned convicts serving their prison term, or former convicts who had completed their sentence, for example, 'ticket-of-leave' holders. Convicts played a significant role in Australia's early colonial settlement history.


As a class, watch My Place Episode 19, 1828: Alice and list all the jobs being performed by characters.

  • Ask students to research the establishment of the new colonial settlement in Australia and find out what was the most essential work for convicts to do. They should also research what types of convicts were allowed to work outside the prisons.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Convict Trail, 'The Ticket of Leave',
  2. Historic Houses Trust, 'A Day in the Life of a Convict',
  3. Museum Box,
  • The students should use the following questions to guide their research:
  1. What types of work did convicts perform during this era?
  2. Who was allowed to work outside the prison?
  3. Were they paid? Why or why not?
  4. What was the difference between an 'assigned' convict, a 'ticket-of-leave' convict and an 'emancipated' convict?

  • Introduce students to a digital museum box tool ( The tool will help them to collect images, data and facts to aid their reflection. A digital museum box is a tool for students to collect information about an event, person or historical period by placing items into a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie.
  • Ask students to create a museum box of images and information about the different types of work that convicts performed in Alice's era. Using the information and images they collect in their museum boxes, students should create a photo story based on the title Convict labour.
  • Using the Student Activity Sheet H19.4 Convict labour, have students create a profile of a convict worker, including their skills, attitudes and the types of work they were engaged in.


Student Activity Sheet H19.4: Convict labour

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