1,000 good deeds

[Episode 12 | 1898 : Rowley]

Rowley is working to complete his 1,000 good deeds so that his father will return to the family. He collects horse manure for the market gardeners and firewood for the laundress. He and his friend, Tom Müller, climb the tree to spy on the private school students who are practising to become soldiers.



The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [3]

Activity 1: Establishing time and place
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Subtheme(s): Language and scripting
  • Before viewing the clip, explain to students that this is the opening scene of the episode. As a class, discuss the purpose of the opening scene in a film text, or the opening chapter or paragraphs in a novel or short story. What does the storyteller as filmmaker, or author, usually do at the beginning of their story?
  • Make a list of key elements that students see as important in setting the scene at the beginning of a story. They could include character introductions, location, time, and objects of significance to the story. Encourage students to give examples from familiar texts where possible.

  • Brainstorm a class list of ways a filmmaker might provide information to the viewer, including camera, dialogue, acting, costumes, lighting, props and location. Explain to students that the activity focus is not on the characters and the overall story, but on how the filmmaker has created the time of day, era or historical period, and the setting or place for the story.


Activity 2: Educating boys
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Social order and education
  • Rowley and Tom Müller are watching the college students practise marching with wooden rifles. They discuss the amount of money it costs to send boys to a college school and what they get for their money, for example, cricket equipment.
  • As a class discuss the difference in education systems in 1898 and today. What opportunities for education existed then? Were there advantages in attending a private school? Who attended these schools? View the clip and discuss the type of education available to Rowley and Tom. Also research how girls of that era were educated and what subjects they were taught.

  • Ask students to research statistics on children's education in 1898 and compare this data to today's statistics. They should examine the number of children educated, and their age, gender and school level reached, among other facts. Findings can be presented as a number of graphs comparing data. Students could interpret these graphs in a report on 'The state of schooling today compared with 1898'.


Activity 3: Practising for war
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Historical events
  • In this clip, the college students are marching to practise for real wars. At this time the British Empire was involved in numerous conflicts around the world, particularly in Africa, the South Pacific and South America.
  • At the start of the Boer War (1899–1902), the Australian colonies offered troops as part of the British Empire contingent. Of the 16,000 Australians who served in the Boer War, 282 died in action or from wounds sustained in battle, 286 died from disease and another 38 died of accidents or other unknown causes. Six Australians received the Victoria Cross in South Africa and many others were decorated.
  • A good source of information is the Australian War Memorial website, http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/boer.asp

  • Look at the reasons for the Boer War and, as a class, discuss why Australians still believed they were more British than Australian at the time. Research some of the known identities, such as Breaker Morant and Captain Howse, who fought in this war.
  • Ask students to write a short biography for a known or unknown soldier who fought in the Boer War. The story of this soldier should start from the practice march of the college students on the day that Rowley spied on them.


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