Cultural Institution Field Day

The humanities lesson/s would focus on a visit from Reg Saunders, an Indigenous Australian from Heywood (area) who served in WW2 as a Captain. He was the first aboriginal to obtain a commission in the Australian forces and for several years he was an elected member of his local council.

In addition to the questions below which relate to the Australian Curriculum, I would encourage students to come up with their own questions (which I would screen)in relation to being the first aboriginal commissioned in the Australian forces (and what that means), the war in general / where he served and also his Indigenous heritage / family. There would be a strong focus on geography and history with civics & citizenship in the middle years. Following on from the visit, students would collate and present information, reflect on their learning so far and what they would still like to find out.

Prior to the visit ask Mr Saunders if he would like to bring in any significant photo albums and/or artefacts to show us, in relation to his time in the armed forces, his Indigenous heritage and his time on local council.

Links to the Australian Curriculum:

Cross curriculum Priority - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.

Geography 1/2

The Countries/Places that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples belong to in the local area and why they are important to them (ACHGK003)

  • Pre visit: Look at the geographical location of where Mr Saunders is from; look on a map in relation to where we are from and where our ancestors were from. Use interactive whiteboard and dialogic pedagogy (encourage everyone to contribute).
  • During visit – Ask Mr Saunders: what makes this area important to you and other aboriginal people?
  • Post visit: Present a mind map of where we are from (present day home) and why it is important to each individual (include Mr Saunders).

History 1/2

How the stories of families and the past can be communicated, for example through photographs, artefacts, books, oral histories, digital media, and museums (ACHHK004)

  • Pre visit: Students bring in something from home which tells a story about their family and the past. Present during News Time/Show & Tell.
  • Visit – Ask Mr Saunders: How does your family like to communicate stories about the past?

Geography 3/4

The many Countries/Places of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples throughout Australia (ACHGK015)

  • Look on an interactive map, discuss.

Collect and record relevant geographical data and information, for example, by observing by interviewing, conducting surveys, measuring, or from sources such as maps, photographs, satellite images, the media and the internet (ACHGS020)

  • Look on an interactive map of where we were born and where we live now.
  • Create graphs showing the locations of where we were born / where we live now (include Mr Saunders.

History 3/4

The importance of Country and Place to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples who belong to a local area. (This is intended to be a local area study with a focus on one Language group; however, if information or sources are not readily available, another representative area may be studied) (ACHHK060)

  • Talk to Mr Saunders about the important aspects of Country / Place, and how it is a part of an aboriginal’s identity.

Days and weeks celebrated or commemorated in Australia (including Australia Day, ANZAC Day, Harmony Week, National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC week and National Sorry Day) and the importance of symbols and emblems. (ACHHK063)

  • Ask Mr Saunders if ANZAC day is special to him and the reasons why.

Civics & Citizenship 3/4

Why people participate within communities and how students can actively participate and contribute (ACHCK003)

  • Ask Mr Saunders: why did you want to serve Australia by being in the armed forces?
  • Ask Mr Saunders: why did you want to serve your community by being on the local council? What types of things did council achieve during that time which really benefitted the community?

Geography 5/6

Collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from primary and secondary sources, for example, people, maps, plans, photographs, satellite images, statistical sources and reports

  • Write a short report (dot point) on the different places Mr Saunders visited when he served in the armed forces. Include a map.

History 5/6

Identify questions to inform an historical inquiry (ACHHS100)

  • Pre visit: Students identify questions which will enable them to collect relevant data in order to write the above report.

Experiences of Australian democracy and citizenship, including the status and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, migrants, women, and children (ACHHK114)

(Also relates to civics & citizenship)

  • Students investigate the 1967 referendum. Write a short report and include their opinion as a summary.
  • Contrast this to the fact that Mr Saunders served in the armed forces as a captain before 1967. Was this hypocritical of the government at that time?
  • Investigate: Were there other Indigenous people serving their country in amazing ways before they were recognised as citizens? Record findings in dot point form and report to peers in small groups.

Civics & Citizenship 5/6

How laws affect the lives of citizens, including experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHCK025)

  • Investigate and write a report on what kinds of things Indigenous Australians were not allowed to do, by law, before the referendum. What changed after 1967?


Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (n.d.), Humanities and Social Sciences, retrieved 16 March 2015, <>

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