Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.


[Episode 25 | Before Time : Bunda]

Bunda and his brother Garadi are competing with each other to find the best method of transporting water. Bunda constructs a raft to carry the water down the river, while his brother carries his water on foot. Bunda's father then tells his sons to bring him something that takes two to get.


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 [1]

Activity 1: Making watercraft
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Inventions and electronic media; Social order and education
  • As a class, view the clip and discuss the solutions that the brothers come up with for fetching water. The clip illustrates the education of the boys in the ways of bushcraft, bush medicine and working as a team. Ask students to list the skills, knowledge and technologies that the boys are learning to use.
  • Indigenous peoples develop sophisticated technologies that are a result of their intimate knowledge and understanding of their local area. This enables them to use the raw materials found in the area, combined with their ability for devising artefacts, to develop things that often have a range of purposes, making them flexible and adaptable. As other groups introduce new materials and objects not found locally they are incorporated if they are found useful. The majority of items are made of materials such as wood and fibre that can be recycled. 
  • Sensitivities to be aware of:
  1. Over time, artefacts including artworks and implements have been removed from their context and placed in museums for scientific purposes and observation only. Some Indigenous people feel strongly that these items should be returned to the country, place and people to which they belong. Be aware that Indigenous students in your classrooms may share these understandings. Be open to discussing these ideas. Connect with your local Indigenous community to discuss and share their ideas about such issues.
  • Ask students to find still images of Indigenous watercraft found in museums and in use, and draw images of design features to generate ideas for their own watercraft. 
  • Introduce students to website information that can assist them with their designs: 
  1. Australian Museum, 'Aboriginal Bark Canoe, NSW', australianmuseum.net.au/image/Aboriginal-bark-canoe-NSW/
  2. Change Media, 'Film: Moogy's Yuki (Moogy's Bark Canoe)', www.changemedia.net.au/kalangadoo-sa-july-2010/
  3. Melbourne Museum, 'The Melbourne Story', Yarra Canoe, museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whatson/current-exhibitions/melbournestory/favourite-objects/the-yarra-canoe/?mode=v/
  4. Museum of Victoria, 'Treasures', Bark Canoe museumvictoria.com.au/treasures/details.aspx?Simg=4&Path=6&PID=34&img=4
  • Ask students to respond to the following question: 
  1. What evidence is provided by the websites on how canoes were traditionally made by Indigenous people in Australia?

  • Ask students to design their own watercraft, using only natural materials. Their design should be based on evidence for the manufacturing techniques and design historically used by Indigenous Australians. They can gather sticks, twigs, leaves, bark and other natural materials from around your school grounds and use them to construct a working model of their watercraft. They should draw their design, label any interesting or noteworthy design features and justify the design choices they have made.


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