[Episode 18 | 1838 : Davey]

Mr Owen has Davey demonstrate whip cracking to his grandsons but then gives Davey some sad news about his favourite horse, Duchess. Despite Davey's protestations, Duchess is headed for the tannery.


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: Whips
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Subtheme(s): Entertainment and games; Inventions and electronic media

In this clip, we see the children attempting to crack a whip. The use of whips reflected an economy that was highly dependent on animal labour, such as herding cattle, and driving horses and carts. However, in the early 19th century whips were also used as a common form of punishment against people.

  • As a class, discuss different ways whips were used in Davey's time. Ask students to research the use of whips in the 19th century. To help focus their research, ask students the following questions:
  1. What were whips used for in Davey's time and why were they important?
  2. How were whips made?
  3. Were different types of whips used? If so, name some different types of whips.
  4. Do people still use whips today? If so, what are they used for?
  5. Have laws changed about the way we can use whips today?
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Convict Trail, 'Common Misdemeanours and Punishments', 
  2. Fremantle Prison, 'Crime and Punishment', 
  3. The National Centre for History Education, 'Crime and Punishment: Convicts and Port Arthur', 
  4. State Library of New South Wales, 
  • Ask students to research how and why the whip produces a 'cracking sound'. Have students draw and label the parts of a whip and describe how it vibrates through air to make a noise.

  • Ask students to write a letter to a local 19th-century newspaper voicing their opinion about the use of whips against animals and people. Their article should reflect upon the following questions:
  1. Should whips be used on people? 
  2. Should whips be used on animals? 
  3. Is there an appropriate time to use whips?
  4. What are the benefits and disadvantages of using whips?


Activity 2: Fashion
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Subtheme(s): Fashion; Gender roles and stereotypes; Social order and education

In this clip, we see the young boys in the Owen family wearing the fashions of the times. In the early 19th century, fashion was used to display the wealth and status of the wearer.

  • Ask students to observe what the boys are wearing. Ask the class to research early 19th-century clothing using the internet and/or library resources, Students can use the following questions as a guide:
  1. How was clothing made in this era?
  2. What fabrics were used?
  3. What are the names of the different garments worn by the boys?
  4. In what ways did clothing reflect a person's status?
  5. What is different about these clothes in comparison to what children wear today?
  • Ask students to look at posters and advertising from the early 19th century. Have the students reflect on how these compare to today's advertisements. Direct the students to compare the style of fonts, the layout and the language used in the different advertisements.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Australian History Research, 'Victorian Fashions',
  2. History, 'A Colonial Gentlemen's Clothing: A glossary of terms',
  3. Fashion-Era, 'Victorian Society',
  4. Victoriana, 'Regency Era', 
  5. Victorian, Civil War and Edwardian period 1830s–1910,
  6. 19th Century Fashion,

  • Ask students to create an advertisement promoting fashion for the wealthy in Davey's time. Students should write a few lines that will help to sell the significance and luxury of the garments for the wealthy wearer. Ask them to describe the material/s used, how they were made and where they could be purchased. 
  • Alternatively, students could create 'Then and now' cut-out fashion dolls. Have students create one doll representing a wealthy child of Davey's time, and one doll representing an expensively dressed child of today. Ask students to reflect on how each era used clothing to convey a sense of status and importance.


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