Year 5 Colonial Australia History Performance:
Children acted out scenes about the following people or events. They made their own props and costumes, and participated in singing and dancing. Sound effects and songs were included as background audio to help create the mood. We had around 120 parents and grandparents attend, followed by scones for morning tea.

  • Arrival
  • Life for Early Settlers
  • Aboriginals 
  • Pemulwuy
  • Explorers - Bass and Flinders, Wentworth, Blaxland, Lawson.
  • MacArthur and the sheep industry.
  • Bound for South Australia
  • Edward John Eyre, Wylie
  • Gold rush and Eureka Stockade
  • Bushrangers - How Gilbert Died (poem)
  • The Wild Colonial Boy - song and acting.
  • The Start of Traditions - Australian Rules Footy
  • Melbourne Cup
  • Man from Snowy River - (Banjo Paterson)
  • Colonial Australia Quiz
  • Barn Dance

We designed a dress and made it out of plastic tablecloths. Then bought frilly quilt covers and sheets to make our real dresses.  Children helped to hand sew the costumes. 

Research Project....
If you would like to view some videos, follow these links!
Crossing of the Blue Mountains by Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson in 1813.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFF5Yhte2U    This film was made in 1965. What difference do you notice between then and now. What has changed/remained the same from Blaxland's time in the 1800's to 1965 and from 1965 to now? e.g. transport, buildings, language, 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx9et3J4b2o   TV presentation - re enactment.

John Oxley - River exploration:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc7YQqsrBhk A students clay animation stop motion video.
http://www.kidcyber.com.au/topics/oxley.htm  Easy to read 'written' information about his exploration
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ln86If8rqZ0 Video of some children acting out an interview with John Oxley.

Charles Sturt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBuwoXAD-ac   History of his exploration with pictures

Burke and Wills
Burke and Wills History shown by a lecturer.
(Central Australia: The 8th Wonder with Ted Egan preview)

Stuart vs Burke and Wills – race to cross Australia video 1/3
video 2/3
video 3/3

John and Elizabeth MacArthur and the importance of the wool industry in establishing Australia
A quick summary of the MacArthurs and the wool industry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1faZ-jybOc0 This video shows how the wool industry was operating in the 1930s and has old trucks, machinery and steam trains which were 'state of the art' in those times! A good illustration of how things have changed, especially in the transport industry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtP63IOhg1Y A young child's guide to shearing today. Good to compare to the previous video. Also talks about the uses of wool.

Dr Ludwig Leichhardt - Scientific exploration of Australia. Radio interview.

Some Aboriginal and European perspectives on the colonisation of Australia

Myall Creek Massacre 


A video that gives some information on the Gold Rush.

A Chinese story telling how the early Bendigo Chinese miners and settlers have influenced our culture today.



Students also made journals: Each person picked someone from the 1800's and wrote about a day in the life of a settler. We also made damper. (See recipe page)


The project details can be found on this page:

Timelines: Learning in Groups
Children worked in groups to make a Timeline that gave an overview of important historical events in Australian History.
Here are some photos of their work.

Learning through Creating
Nicholas researched on the Internet about the First Fleet. He found a picture of one of the boats and made it out of paper, sticks and string. Then he looked up some of the names of boats in the First Fleet. Good job Nicholas!

History Dioramas

Children were asked to write a journal showing a day in the life of a Colonial Settler or convict. Then they had to make a diorama to show what life was like for their chosen person. Some of the finished dioramas are pictured below.

 Beau's Blacksmith Diorama

 Charli's school house diorama

 Claudia's Bakehouse Diorama

 Emma's Ned Kelly Diorama (Can you find where he is hiding?)

 Georgia A's Diorama

 Georgia D's Convict Diorama

James P's Colonial Settlement - Farming diorama

 Lily's Convict Servant Diorama

 Neyon's Ned Kelly Diorama

James P's farming diorama - His information was very interesting too!

Joel's Police Station in the 1800's

 Spiro's Indigenous Australian Diorama

 Zac C's Convict diorama

 Zahra's Goldminer's Diorama

Zak M's Farming Diorama

Kayla's Ned Kelly Diorama

Mia's Farming diorama 

Cooper's Bushranger hut

Eden's Jail house


 James N's Goldminers diorama

Neyon's modified Ned Kelly diorama

Patrick's goldmining diorama

Adelle's Office in the 1800's

 Abby's convict  boat could move in 4 directions!

 Life in a convict boat was not easy!

 Caitlin's Goldmining Settlement


Georgia S made a diorama with Ned Kelly and his gang and the Euroa Bank

Tom made a diorama of tents used by Ned Kelly


Nicola did a diorama of a Blacksmith in the 1800's.

Ben's Gold miner
Abbie's Charles Conder diorama

 Alyssa's great sketch and backdrop!
Breanna A's picture of what it may have looked like before settlement.

Breanna A's Ned Kelly diorama

Breanna G made a popstick staircase. Oops I will turn the photo later!

Breanna G's impression of the landscape before settlement.

Daniel's 'before settlement' picture

Daniel's miners diorama

Daniel's miner's diorama

Dylan's Ned Kelly diorama - Clay Ned Kelly and pastels for trees.

 Dylan's overlay
Close up of Dylan's clay model of Ned Kelly

 Abbie's pastels picture of the environment before settlement.
Emily's Mary Lee diorama

 Ethan's Ned Kelly diorama
 Ethan's drawing of life before settlement.
 Another view of Ethan's Ned Kelly diorama
 And a close up!
 Ethan W's diorama. Notice the rings on the tree!
 Ethan W has a distinctive artistic style to his drawings!
 Ethan W's diorama again!
Jayde's overlay of the environment.
Jayde's gold-mining town, with canvas tent and clay features
Madison's Caroline Chisholm diorama.
Madison's drawing of the environment before the 'invasion' or 'settlers', depending on your point of view.
Madison had a special way of lifting up the overlay - She used velcro dots.
Memphis did a gold- mining diorama. His sense of humour always shows through!
Some tired, sad gold-miners!
Mitchell made a gold-mining settlement too. He used clay, natural materials, paper, wood etc. and showed a miner panning for gold.
Here's a close up!
And another, that shows his backdrop.
Nate drew a picture of what the environment is like now, compared to the times of Ned Kelly. What a difference! We have certainly changed things in Australia.
Nate spent a lot of time making his Ned Kelly out of clay. He used printing to make the log look realistic and a cutting technique to make the grass. He made the police stand up with tabs.
He also made the tree with fringing. He thought about the composition and relative heights of objects.
Nic spent some time making a gold miner's hut along a river. There's lots of gold in this river! I think he has struck it rich!
Here's another view of Nic's work.
Stefan make a gold mining scene too!  He chose a backdrop to show what times were like in the harbour when settlers first arrived. He made a pick axe out of matchsticks and a glue gun. He drew one of his miners and put them on a chair that he also made.
Stefan made his backdrop to show what the environment may have looked like before mining.
Tia made her Ned Kelly diorama using pegs to be the police. She made a fire with popsticks and cellophane. 
Tia drew a scene that may have been around before settlement.

Will did a diorama about mining. He made a shaft in the top of his box.
Will drew a fabulous picture of the miners and surveyors.
Here is the miner down in the shaft. Will made a cart and track, as well as a ladder.

Here is a close up view. His torches were placed along the walls for light.
Zak made a box with a number of compartments. It was the gold miners along the riverside. 

Zoe made Charles Conder's house and drew him. Then put him on a chair she had made. She also made paintings, like the ones Charles painted.

Zoe made a landscape to show what life may have been like before settlement as well as after settlement (see below)
Here is another view of Zoe's diorama.

The children all did an excellent job constructing their dioramas of Australian people in the 1800's


  1. Thanks Alisha! The children were very proud of their work.

  2. What a great resource! Those dioramas are fantastic and I love the plastic bag costumes - very clever!

  3. Thanks Nichole! The plastic bag costumes were made out of 2 x $2 tablecloths with a ribbon threaded through the apron part. Sticky tape was used to connect it. We then used the pattern and groups of kids hand sewed the costumes out of old sheets and frilled quilt covers that I bought cheaply at an Op Shop. They used darning needles and embroidery thread to sew it. Even the boys got into it! Lots of fun.

  4. cool dioramas and drawings!!! :)