The early colonial settlement of Sydney was relatively small. As the colony expanded, many new buildings and other infrastructure were built. This required a labour force that was capable of strong, hard, physical labour. Many of the workers in Alice's era were either assigned convicts serving their prison term, or former convicts who had completed their sentence, for example, 'ticket-of-leave' holders. Convicts played a significant role in Australia's early colonial settlement history.
As a class, watch My Place Episode 19, 1828: Alice and list all the jobs being performed by characters.
- Ask students to research the establishment of the new colonial settlement in Australia and find out what was the most essential work for convicts to do. They should also research what types of convicts were allowed to work outside the prisons.
- The following websites may be useful:
Convict Trail, 'The Ticket of Leave', http://www.convicttrail.org/history.php?id=a3b4c2%f%5
Historic Houses Trust, 'A Day in the Life of a Convict', http://www.hht.net.au/discover/highlights/kids_fact_sheets/a_day_in_the_life_of_a_convict
Museum Box, http://museumbox.e2bn.org/
- The students should use the following questions to guide their research:
- What types of work did convicts perform during this era?
- Who was allowed to work outside the prison?
- Were they paid? Why or why not?
- What was the difference between an 'assigned' convict, a 'ticket-of-leave' convict and an 'emancipated' convict?
Introduce students to a digital museum box tool (http://museumbox.e2bn.org/). The tool will help them to collect images, data and facts to aid their reflection. A digital museum box is a tool for students to collect information about an event, person or historical period by placing items into a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie.
Ask students to create a museum box of images and information about the different types of work that convicts performed in Alice's era. Using the information and images they collect in their museum boxes, students should create a photo story based on the title Convict labour.
Using the Student Activity Sheet H19.4 Convict labour, have students create a profile of a convict worker, including their skills, attitudes and the types of work they were engaged in.
Student Activity Sheet H19.4: Convict labour