Founding the ALP

[Episode 12 | 1898 : Rowley]

Rowley and Tom Müller visit Mr Merry when he is convening a meeting of the newly formed Labor Party. They are discussing the development of a new brickworks and are concerned with protecting the rights, health and safety of workers. Rowley and his mother discuss Rowley's father and his employment at the brickworks.


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: The ALP
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Subtheme(s): Politics; Social order and education
  • As a class discuss the question: Why was the Australian Labor Party (ALP) formed and who were the founders trying to help?

  • Hot seat role-play is a strategy where students research and analyse a character from the episode. Through their observations they find out who the person is, their importance to the story and what differentiates them from other characters. Once students understand the character, they can pretend to be them and answer questions from other members of the class while remaining in character.
  • Students choose a character from the episode. In small groups, students can develop a storyline for their character, creating a drama in which the character interacts with other characters based on a given scenario.
  • Each scenario listed below relates to the hard times experienced by workers in the 1890s.
  1. Brickworks employee gets ill and faces his boss about the situation. He gathers others who are ill to support his case.
  2. Local publican hosts secret meetings for the unemployed brickworks employees at the back of his pub.
  3. Unemployed workers have a meeting to discuss the problems they face. Some of them agree that they should join the ALP and others feel scared.
  4. Bosses and company owners talk about not paying out money to ill workers. They are faced with having to deal with locals getting together for secret ALP meetings.


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