Pig forgery

[Episode 19 | 1828 : Alice]

Freddie tells Alice about his forging history while they paint a piglet black. They then switch it with George's piglet Benny in order to fix the race. When Alice awakes she's shocked to find there is something wrong with Wilhelmina.


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: Crime and punishment
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Culture; Historical events

Penalties for crime were very harsh in Alice's era. Something that might be considered a minor offence by today's standards could result in a sentence of many years of hard labour or even lead to death in 1828.

  • Ask students to research convict history and the role of transportation. The My Place for Teachers Decade timeline contains significant information to help in the research of some facts. Students could use the following questions to aid their research:
  1. What was a convict?
  2. When did convicts come to Australia?
  3. Why was Australia set up as a penal colony?
  4. Where did convicts come from?
  5. What types of crimes did people commit to be sentenced to transportation?
  6. Once transported, where were convicts housed?
  7. What happened when a convict misbehaved?
  8. When did transportation end in Australia?
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Convict Central, 'Convicts to Australia: A Guide to Researching Your Convict Ancestors', http://www.convictcentral.com/
  2. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and The Arts, 'Australian Convict Sites Information Sheet', http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/education/pubs/factsheets/australian-convict-sites.pdf
  3. State Library of Queensland, 'Convict Transportation Registers Database', http://www.slq.qld.gov.au/info/fh/convicts

  • In small groups of four or five and using the information researched above, ask students to make a vod/podcast or small film pretending to be a convict work gang. Students should explain what crimes the convicts committed and how long their sentences are. Students should imagine themselves as convicts talking about the work they have to perform, and how it makes them feel to be forced to do this type of work. The following are further questions that students could use to stimulate their responses:
  1. Would their character like to escape?
  2. How would their character survive if they did manage to escape?
  3. If their character behaved well and served out their sentence, what would they do after they were freed.
  • Alternatively, students could research whether convicts were involved in building roads, bridges or houses in their local area. If there was some presence of convict labour, ask students to develop a guided tour of the sites where convicts worked or lived. The guided tour should include a map, information about each of the sites and images/illustrations about who the convicts were, what they did and what eventually happened to them.


Activity 2: Money for goods
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Currency; Inventions and electronic media

In this clip, a convict talks about committing the crime of forgery. Skilled forgers were often caught making illegal copies of banknotes in Alice's era. The use of money was different from today. Early Australian settlements often lacked sufficient legal currency to support the colony's fledging economy, forcing the use of alternative means of monetary exchange. From 1825, English currency became the official currency of the colonies, using the imperial system of pounds, shillings and pence. It replaced the 'holey dollar' that Governor Macquarie had used as currency.

  • As a class, view the clip Pig forgery and discuss the concept of legal tender/money. Brainstorm alternative ways people pay for items and list some other ways that people pay for goods and services, such as bartering, the exchange of precious metals and providing goods for services.
  • Students can use the following web links to research early Australian currency:
  1. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 'About Australia: Our Currency', http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/currency.html/ 
  2. Reserve Bank of Australia, Museum of Australian Currency Notes, 'About the Museum', http://www.rba.gov.au/Museum/About/ 
  3. Reserve Bank of Australia, Museum of Australian Currency Notes, 'Before Federation: To 1900: Currency Chaos', http://www.rba.gov.au/Museum/Displays/1788_1900_before_federation/currency_chaos.html
  4. Sydenham, S and Thomas, R, Australian Currency [Online], (2008), http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/austcurrency1.htm/

  • As a class, have students participate in a role-play of an imaginary colonial village market. Each student has the task of procuring basic food and grocery items. Students are randomly assigned roles and allocated different amounts of money and possessions depending on their class and status. As some students will have no money, they will need to find alternative means to pay for their items.
  • Each student should complete a character profile sheet using Student Activity Sheet H19.6 Money for goods.
  • Alternatively, ask the students to research the currency of the early 1800s in Australia. The following questions will refine the focus of their research:
  1. What are some of the differences and similarities between colonial currencies and the type of currency we use today? 
  2. How does the design of today's Australian banknotes stop them being counterfeited? 
  3. What did the authorities do to make it difficult for forgers in the early 1800s in Australia?
  • Ask the students to find an image or draw a colonial banknote/ promissory note from the early 1800s on a large A3 sheet of paper. Students should label the image with information about the style and font of the writing, the text or information on the note, any insignias or emblems, the layout and the colouring of the notes.
  • Use the following web link for guidance:
    Reserve Bank of Australia, Museum of Australian Currency Notes, 'Before Federation: To 1900: Currency Chaos' http://www.rba.gov.au/Museum/Displays/1788_1900_before_federation/currency_chaos.html/
  • As an extension activity, have students design their own currency for Australia today.



Student Activity Sheet: H19.6 Money for goods

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