Teaching notes

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Teaching notes

This resource has been developed in partnership with the Historic Houses Trust to support their Connected classroom: a convict story program, which engages students in a virtual, interactive field trip via videoconference. Many of the tasks would enhance a class visit to the Hyde Park Barracks or the Museum of Sydney and enrich student learning.

For information on bookings and video examples from the videoconference program, select ‘Go back in time’ from the opening screen.

The resource can also be used in the classroom independent of these programs.

Syllabus links

Links to the NSW HSIE K-6 Syllabus at Stages 2 and 3:

CCS2.1: Describes events and actions related to the British colonisation of Australia and assesses changes and consequences

CCS3.1: Explains the significance of particular people, groups, places, actions and events in the past in developing Australian identities and heritage
The resource also supports student learning in the KLAs of English, Mathematics and Creative Arts.

Using this resource

The resource is in sections, which are accessed from the opening screen. There are teaching notes for each of these sections.

  • Journeys

  • Convict identities

  • At the barracks

  • Artefacts

  • Go back in time

  • Activities and quiz

  • First Australians

These teaching notes are available below and within each specific section.

Students gain background information from a variety of primary sources, including artefacts, artworks and texts, such as journals.

Students have the opportunity to complete and present some tasks online or in print.

In A convict story: Journeys students will:

  • discover why convicts were transported to Australia

  • follow the journey of the First Fleet from England to Australia

  • record the journey on a map of the world online or on paper

  • write a shopping list a convict may have prepared before transportation

  • estimate the number of belongings you could pack in a convict box

  • design a convict love token to leave with a loved one in Great Britain

  • sing the Ballad of Botany Bay, then write a verse or compose a ballad to perform

  • mark and present the journey to Australia of family or an ancestor

  • conduct research and record family history in My family passport.


  1. ‘Discover why convicts were transported to Australia’, takes students to the Historic Houses Trust website. The image of the prison hulk also links to information about transportation.

The First Fleet

  1. The Historic Houses Trust website has information on Captain Arthur Phillip.

  2. First Fleet links to the State Library of NSW website.

Leaving England

  1. Students imagine their emotions as a convict transported to the ‘end of the world’ and then consider the practical matters of what they could take to help them survive during the journey and beyond.

Bound for Botany Bay

  1. You need to scroll down the State Library page to see that it was Joseph Banks who recommended Botany Bay as a site for settlement.

  2. As well as the full vocal version, words and sheet music for the Ballad of Botany Bay there is an instrumental version provided.

  3. Students could write lyrics for another verse or compose another ballad.

Family journeys

If you have Aboriginal students, acknowledge their ancestry and why they won’t complete the family passport, but research the story of members of their family who have journeyed from another part of Australia.

See website links at the end of the complete teaching notes to assist with research into convict ancestry.
Students can mark and show the journey of their family or an ancestor and make a presentation on Scribble Maps to share with others. View a sample family journey made using the program.
Scribble Maps uses Google Maps and students can add text, shapes, lines, images, arrows, directions and place-markers with or without text and then save and share their project.

Scribble Maps requires a login and has video tutorials for hints about how to use the software.
Read hints on enhancing Scribble Maps presentations at the end of these notes.

Journeys and connections explores objects from the National Museum of Australia related to discovery, white settlement and migration.

  1. You may find extra information for your students in the Making Australia home
    unit of work for Years 5 and 6.

Hints for using Scribble Maps

Look on the toolbar on the top left and find a variety of tools to use on your map. Select from the place-markers which you can use to add information to your chosen map locations; place text in text boxes; draw rectangles, circles or free shapes around areas as zones/areas to focus on; draw lines, use the eraser, drag the map, add an image; and then save and share with your group, class or teacher.

When you are ready to save, click on the Menu button and choose Save Map. This gives you a map ID (which you might like to write down to remember) and you can add in a title and description. Check Autosave and Delist Map (to keep it more private) and then Save. You can give your map a password (which you might like to write down to remember) and then save, or you can save without a password.

The next window gives you three pieces of information you need to save:

• the Map ID you saved earlier, which you can use later to re-upload your map

the Map directory link, which you can email for others to see your map

• the Direct link, which is a quick way to load your map to work on later.

Using images in Scribble Maps

• To add an image to your work, firstly zoom right in close to the area of the map where you are going to place the image.

• Find your image, right click on the image and go down to the word Properties. In the information that then appears, there will be a heading Address (URL) which has the address of the image. Copy this.

• Click on the Add Image button on the Scribble Maps toolbar and paste in this image information.

• Check the box Scale With Map so that the image decreases in size as you zoom out on your map.

• Click Add to Map and a small camera image will replace your arrow as you move your cursor. Wherever you click this will be where your image is loaded – but be careful as it is difficult to delete if placed in an incorrect position.

It may take a few tries to get the image to the size you want compared to the map.

Click back on the Select tool on the toolbar and zoom out from your map to see your image uploaded.

Text from the markers or icons in the family journey in Scribble maps:

  • From a farm near Galway, my great-great grandfather travelled south to Cobh, County Cork, Ireland in 1867.

  • He and two of his brothers sailed for Australia in search of a better life.

  • In Capetown, South Africa the ship took on supplies.

  • Violent storms and squalls delayed their progress.

  • At last, the ship reached Fremantle, near Perth in Western Australia.

  • One of my great-great uncles decided to settle there.

  • The ship sailed into Port Phillip Bay.

  • In Melbourne, some people left the ship for the Victorian gold fields to seek their fortune.
  • My great-great grandfather settled in Sydney, before heading to Forbes in country NSW.

  • My great-great grandfather married and settled in Forbes to raise a family.

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