Making amends

[Episode 15 | 1868 : Minna]

Minna and Adelaide confess to stealing the lantern after Mr Owen refuses to return it to Mr Wong. Minna's father has her make amends for her transgression by working for Mr Wong - a punishment that Mr Owen finds inappropriate.


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: Family rules
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Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Gender roles and stereotypes; Social order and education

In this part of the episode, two girls are shown being disciplined by their fathers. Family rules have always been one of the most important ways that children have learnt moral codes of behaviour.

  • Ask students to reflect on some of the rules established by their parents or guardians. Ask them to discuss if these rules changed as they have grown older and if the rules are different to those experienced by their parents or grandparents.
  • Some rules such as the use of the internet, and watching television didn't exist because these technologies weren't invented in Minna's time. Family rules often reflect the time and era that they are made in.
  • As a class make a list of the rules that Minna had to follow, and a list of rules that students need to follow.
  • The following website may be useful:

The Victorian Web, 'Victorian Social History: An Overview',

  • Ask students to interview their parents and grandparents or other family members about the types of rules that they had to follow in their childhood.
  • Using the student activity sheet, students can compare family rules from Minna's time to themselves and their parents and grandparents.
  • Ask students to draw up a Bill of Rights for children to use today. The bill must outline the rules that are commonly followed by all students.


Activity 2: Racial discrimination
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Subtheme(s): Multiculturalism; Social order and education

In this clip, Mr Wong and Mr Owen have a disagreement over the possession of the magic lantern. Mr Wong complains that the lantern is his rightful property and should be returned to him, while Mr Owen is reluctant to return an item that has been found on his land. Mr Wong declares that he will go to the authorities, but Mr Owen questions him as to whose word they will listen to. It is implied that in the eyes of the law, Mr Owen has more credibility.

  • As a class, discuss the way social order is shown in this section of the story. Ask students to explain why Mr Wong's word might have been considered less valuable than Mr Owen's in Australia during the 19th century. Discuss with students the concept of racism.

  • Brainstorm ideas for images and words about people living in harmony together. Then ask students to create a poster promoting harmony with the theme that all people are equal.
  • Alternatively, students could create a digital poster or web quest and share them with the rest of the class when completed.


Student Activity Sheet H15.8: Racial discrimination

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