Unlike his posh older brother John, Charles is enjoying building a fence on the farm. At the end of the fence line he encounters Liam, a convict who is on the run. Liam asks Charles to bring him some food and boots.
Subtheme(s): Culture,Gender roles and stereotypes,Historical events
The remoteness of Australia and its formidable landscape and harsh climate made this alien land an ideal choice as a penal settlement in the early 19th century. While the prospect of escape may initially have seemed inconceivable, the desire for freedom proved too strong for the many convicts who attempted to flee into the bush. Early escapees were misguided by the belief that China was only a couple of hundred kilometres to the north. Later, other convicts tried to escape by sea, heading across the Pacific Ocean. In this clip, Charles meets Liam, an escaped convict who is attempting to travel over the Blue Mountains to the west.
Ask students to research the reasons why Australia was selected as the site of a British penal colony. They should also find out who was sent to the colony and where the convicts were first incarcerated. Refer to the My Place for Teachers, Decade timeline - 1800s for an overview. Students should write an account of the founding of the penal settlement in New South Wales.
As a class, discuss the difficulties convicts faced when escaping from an early Australian gaol. Examine the reasons they escaped and the punishments inflicted when they were captured. List these reasons and punishments on the board or interactive whiteboard.
For more in-depth information, students can conduct research in the school or local library, or online. As a starting point, refer to the resources listed below:
Hirst, W 1999, Great Convict Escapes in Colonial Australia, Kangaroo Press, Sydney
Ask students to select one of the convicts listed below, and research their story of escape:
Mary Bryant (1765-date of death unknown)
William Buckley (1780-1856)
Martin Cash (1808-1877)
John Graham (aged 12, transported in early 1840)
Alexander Pearce (1790-19 July 1824)
John Porter (transported 20 November 1818)
William Swallow (1807-date of death unknown)
Their individual research should gather information on the escapees about:
their life prior to being a convict
their experiences as a convict
how they escaped
consequences of their escape.
Students can use Student Activity Sheet H 20.1 Escape! to organise their notes and write a diary entry.
Ask students to work individually to write a diary entry imagining that they are their selected convict on the night before their escape. The entry should outline:
the reasons why they are escaping
their plan of escape
their fears of what might happen to them if recaptured or lost in the bush.
To give the diary entry an appearance of being artificially 'aged', paint the page with a mixture of instant coffee granules and water. The diary entries can be shared with the rest of the class and displayed in the classroom.
Subtheme(s): Historical events,Social order and education
In this clip, Charles and his brother John help out on the farm before they are sent back to England to go to school. In Britain at this time, universal education was not the responsibility of the government. The early Australian governors, however, considered the education of young children an important step towards the success of the colony. They believed that schooling would teach the children of emancipated convicts to respect the law and become useful members of society. Governor Macquarie established the first public charity school in Sydney, attended by children of the poorer settlers. By 1821, with Macquarie's support, 15 public charity schools had been established in Sydney and outlying areas such as Parramatta, Liverpool, Windsor, Wilberforce and Richmond.
Ask students to research information about the schools established by Governor Macquarie during his governorship. Students could find information in the school or local library, or online. As a starting point, refer to the websites below:
Ask students to develop a profile of Governor Macquarie's achievements and vision for the colony. They could present the profile as a Facebook page, a promotional pamphlet for Macquarie in a state election or a report for the local newspaper.
Ask students to investigate the history of their own school. Their investigation should include drawing a map of their school in its earliest incarnation and a map of the school in the present.
Students could construct a historical tour of the school. In small groups they could design a map and/or tour that include notes on historical features such as foundations, plaques on buildings, memorial gardens and the remains of earlier structures on their maps. Where available, mark the construction dates of buildings on the map.
Students could find old photos and maps of the school for this historical tour in their local or school library. They should also draw a timeline of the development of the school, recording when the school was founded and when important buildings were constructed.
Students with access to Kahootz 3 software could design an animated virtual tour of the school, which could be uploaded to the school website. Kahootz has capacity to import sound and this tour could be narrated.
Student Activity Sheet H 20.2: Schooling in the colony
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.
Character,Chores, business and employment,Language and scripting
In this clip, we meet a variety of different characters; Charles (the youngest son of Mr Owen), John (Charles' elder brother), Sam (the former convict), Liam (the escaped convict) and Sarah (the maid). As a class, view the clip and list the characters that appear. To become familiar with their different personalities, have students select and discuss their favourite character and their least favourite character. Ask students to select a partner and, in pairs, list three characteristics of their favourite character and another three characteristics of their least favourite character. Ask each pair to share these perceptions with the rest of the class.
Ask students to create mini-profiles of each of the characters once they are familiar with the clip. Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E20.1 Character profiling. A mini-profile is a summary of various features of a character and includes the following characteristics: physical appearance, the work they are required to perform, their age and gender, the language they use and the manner in which they speak.
Using their mini-profiles as the basis of the students' research, conduct a hot seat role-play where each student elects to be one of the characters in the hot seat. The rest of the class questions them about their life and beliefs. The student then answers these questions while in character. Ensure that students respond using the appropriate language (eg slang if being Sam), tone (eg bossy, if being John), words and accent, if possible.
Ask students to imagine they are one of the characters in the clip. Have them write a short letter to a friend in England, or a diary entry, in which they describe the farm, how they feel about living and/or working on the farm, their opinion of the other characters on the farm and also a list of the work they do. As with the role-play, the students should aim to write in the style of the character, using the language, tone, style and words most suitable for their chosen character.
Chores, business and employment,Language and scripting,Social order and education
In this clip, we are introduced to the world of work on a farm. As a class, make a list of the different jobs that the workmen are doing in this clip. Ask students to list and describe three types of work the workmen are performing and five adjectives to describe the work the men do. Review the clip and ask the students to focus on the lack of complex technologies that the farm uses, for example, machinery and equipment. Ask students how this lack of complex technology might impact on the work the men have to do in this time (1818).
As a class, view the entire episode. Ask students to compare the physical appearance of the workers with that of their boss; Charles' father, Mr. Owen. Ask students the following question:
Why is Mr Owen so much better dressed and well groomed than the workmen?
Discuss the idea of the farm labourers being convicts.
If available, read an extract from chapter 18, '1818', of the picture book My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins. It starts with 'Father is mostly in Sydney…, but I want to be a farmer'. Ask the students to explore how the author wants the readers to visually interpret where Charles and his family live. Ask students to compare their visual interpretation from reading the passage with how the episode represents the life of Charles and his family.
The only female character in the clip who works for the family is Sarah. In small groups, ask students to list the type of chores (work) she does for the family. Ask them to evaluate why Sarah doesn't do any of the labouring work. Ask students to consider the work of women today. As a class discussion, have students evaluate how attitudes to women in the workforce have changed since 1818. Have students note that Sarah does not talk, nor is she spoken to, in the clip. Ask students for an explanation and their opinion about Sarah's silence.
Although Charles and John are children, they are helping the men with the work. Ask students to form pairs and have them list the types of chores that they complete at home. Then have them compare these with the chores Charles and John have to do on the farm.
Ask students to compare the chores of children in 1818 compared to today. They should particularly note the work of John and Charles. This comparison can be displayed in a Venn diagram.
John's and Charles' lives on the farm are difficult because most chores were completed with simple implements, and by hand. Ask students to research what machinery and technologies farmers use today to assist them with their work. Once again, this comparison can be illustrated by a Venn diagram.