The shooting

[Episode 18 | 1838 : Davey]

Davey is on the run with Duchess but has his preconceptions about bushrangers challenged when he witnesses them shooting Mr Owen and stealing from him.


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: Horses
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Historical events; Transport

In an era before cars, horses were the major means of transport for people and goods. Horses also played a vital part in farming and food production. In general, horses and the horse industry were an integral part of daily life in the early 19th century.

  • Ask students to reflect on the role that the horse played in the early 19th century. Ask students to research information about the importance of horses using the following questions to guide them:
  1. Who owned horses in Davey's time (1838)? 
  2. What type of tasks did horses perform?
  3. What happened to horses that grew too old and could no longer work?
  4. Where did horses in Australia come from and when did the first horse arrive in the country?
  • Ask students to use the activity sheet provided to help them refine their research data.

  • Have students complete a then-and-now T-chart. On one side they should write a list of the work that horses performed in Davey's time. On the other side, they need to write a second list identifying how this work is performed today. Have students consider how mechanisation has replaced the use of horse labour in many of these roles. 
  • As an extension activity, ask students to think about the place of animals in the workforce today. What jobs are still performed by animals in modern Australia? Are there countries today that are still heavily dependent on the use of animal labour? 
  • Ask students to create a poster about their research using the topic 'Animals at work'.


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

The lives of bushrangers have inspired many films, stories, poems and visual art, enhancing their mythical place in Australian culture. However, this view of bushrangers is in debate, with some arguing that bushrangers should really be portrayed as violent criminals rather than heroic outlaws.

  • Ask students to research the life of a famous Australian bushranger on the internet or using reference books from the library. In their research, ask students to focus on the following questions:
  1. Why did bushrangers turn to a life of crime?
  2. What were the key events in their lives?
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Australian Dictionary of Biography,
  2. ——
  3. Australian History,
  4. ——
  5. Culture and Recreation Australia,
  6. ——
  7. ——
  8. Historic Houses Trust, 'Bushrangers',
  9. Hyperhistory, 'Ned Kelly - hero or villain?,
  10. Ironoutlaw,
  11. State Library of Victoria, 'Bushrangers',
  • As a class, discuss the idea of different historical perspectives. Use the following questions as a guide:
  1. Why do some people see bushrangers as criminals?
  2. Why do others see them as heroic outlaws?

  • In pairs, ask students to create a vodcast from a famous bushranger. Ask one student to describe the life of the bushranger from the perspective of the bushranger or one of their friends. The other student should describe the bushranger from the perspective of one of the bushranger's victims or one of their grieving relatives. Ask students to use the student activity sheet to help them prepare their script.
  • Ask students to create a wanted poster for their favourite bushranger.
  • Play a hot seat role-play where the student pretends to be the bushranger that they have researched. The rest of the class asks questions about the bushranger's life. The student in the 'hot seat' responds in character from the information they have researched or based on how they feel the bushranger would respond.


Student Activity Sheet H18.6: Bushrangers

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