The goodbye

[Episode 5 | 1968 : Sofia]

The family gathers to say goodbye to Michaelis as he leaves for national training. It is a time of reconciliation for Sofia and Janice.


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 [3]

Activity 1: Leaving home
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Subtheme(s): Relationships

Saying goodbye to a loved one who is going to war is never easy. In this clip we see the family fearful for Michaelis as he leaves for his national training.

  • Ask students to watch the clip carefully and name all the people Michaelis has to say goodbye to before he leaves. Make a list on the board before beginning the lotus-diagram activity below.

  • A lotus diagram is a graphic organiser based on developing higher-order thinking when observing a scene from a movie. The lotus diagram in Student Activity Sheet H5.8 provides students with scope to tease out ideas on what they observe.
  • The lotus diagram used in this activity asks students to observe the characters in the clip and how they react to Michaelis leaving for war. It allows students to delve deeper into each character's thoughts, feelings and motivations.


Activity 2: War posters
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Subtheme(s): Art, music and literature; Australians at war; Inventions and electronic media

Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War secured its allegiance to the United States and showed the world that it could be an independent and strong defensive nation. In comparison to the First and Second World Wars, Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War did not have widespread support, and Australian troops were withdrawn by 1972.

  • Propaganda posters are wonderful examples of how governments encouraged people to support the war effort. Posters were also used by other groups to protest against the horrors of war.
  • Ask students to research the websites listed below and discuss the differences between war poster designs from the First and Second World Wars and the Vietnam War.
  1. Australia and the Vietnam War,
  2. Anzac Day,
  3. World War Pictures,
  4. National Archives of Australia,
  5. First World War,
  • Ask students to research the war posters produced by Vietnamese artists during the 'American War'. Ask them to evaluate the different messages from each side that the posters portray.

  • Ask students to design and construct a poster commemorating all of the wars that Australians have fought in. This design could highlight propaganda for or against war.


Activity 3: Symbols of peace
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Subtheme(s): Art, music and literature; Australians at war

Janice reminds Michaelis to take the peace-symbol badge off his slouch hat before he arrives at the military base.

  • Ask students to find other symbols of peace recognised around the world.

  • Ask students to write a letter of protest to the local newspaper on behalf of Michaelis's family, asking for the war in Vietnam to be stopped and the troops sent home. In the letter, students should outline their concerns about the validity of the war and its cost to the Australian people. Have students sign the letter with a symbol of peace.
  • Alternatively, ask students to write a poem or song lyrics protesting the war in Vietnam.
  • They should share their work with the class.


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