The bushranger

[Episode 18 | 1838 : Davey]

While out walking Duchess, Davey and Alice witness a bushranger on the run from some local soldiers, and they misdirect the soldiers to ensure his swift escape. Davey is confronted by the Owen boys who tease him about the imminent fate of Duchess.


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: Stableboy
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Gender roles and stereotypes

This clip depicts Davey's life as a stableboy. Stableboys like Davey held the lowest status position in the horse industry.

  • Ask students to consider the life and work of a stableboy in the 19th century. As a class, create a mind map of the life of a stableboy. Ask students the following questions: 
  1. What kinds of tasks would a stableboy have performed each day? 
  2. How many hours would he spend working in a day?
  3. Where would he have slept, washed and eaten? 
  4. How would he have been treated by older employers? 
  5. What were likely to have been his life's aspirations?
  • Ask students to consider the hierarchy of a horse stable. Have students complete a hierarchical chart, placing the owner at the top and the stableboy at the bottom. Discuss how workplaces at this time (1838) had a strict chain of command, often with child workers in the lowest ranking. 
  • Ask students to write a schedule for a day in the life of a stableboy in the 19th century. Students should focus on the following questions:
  1. List several kinds of chores that a stableboy would be required to do.
  2. What was the stableboy's relationship to the stable owner and other employees?
  3. What skills were needed to be a stableboy and what skills were learnt on the job?
  4. In your opinion, what would be the advantages and disadvantages of being a stableboy?

  • Ask students to work in pairs. In their pairs, one of the students should develop a job description for a stableboy today. The job description should look at the skills the employee needs to address in the application and set out the conditions of work and the remuneration for employment. The other student should apply for the job outlining why they are the best candidate for the job.


Activity 2: Troopers
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Historical events; Politics

In the 1830s, armed troopers on horseback provided much of the organised policing. Outlaws were usually referred to as 'bolters' or escaped convicts. This clip shows troopers in pursuit of a masked outlaw or 'bolter' who is attempting to hide in the bush

  • As a class, discuss the actions of the troopers in the clip. In pairs, ask students to complete the think-pair-share chart about how troopers lived and worked in Davey's time. The students should answer the following questions: 
  1. Why were the troopers armed?
  2. Why did the troopers ride on horseback? 
  3. Who were the outlaws and what laws did they transgress?
  4. Why would Davey be frightened of them?
  • As a class, discuss the actions of Davey and his sister as they watch the escape of the outlaws. Ask students the reasons why Davey told the troopers to go the wrong way. Students should also consider what would have happened if Davey had told the truth. And, what would happen to Davey if the troopers had found out that he'd lied to them?

  • Ask students to create a comic strip of the action in the clip. Students should storyboard the action and draw and write up the action and dialogue, creating a pictorial story.  
  • Alternatively, students could create a timeline of the key dates of the history of policing in Australia. Ask students to research the introduction of the police force in each state. 
  • Martin Cash was a notorious outlaw at this time. Ask students to research his life story and to develop a social media page or wanted poster for him.


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