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SubSection MarkerExpressing National Goals

1918-1945 Between the wars - Expressing National Goals - A teaching unit

Examine social and cultural change in Australia between World War I and World War II. Visit places of recreation, technology, industry and war-time activity and gather information about economic expansion in Australia between the wars. Consider the changes occurring in Australian environments – both built and natural – during this period.

Focus Areas

Use the resources and activities in Expressing national goals – between the wars to examine the inquiry questions in Stage 5 History Australia between the wars and Stage 5 Geography Changing Australian Environments. Investigate six heritage places – drawn from the New South Wales State Heritage Inventoryexternal link(SHI NSW) – for evidence of major influences on Australian life in the period between the wars. Discuss contemporary ideas of heritage – for example, values underlying regional perspectives on preserving the past – and the connections between places that these ideas generate.

Explore the ways that visual histories can contribute to an understanding of the past. Activities in this unit incorporate ideas for using visual images to examine the goals, attitudes and values of Australians. Connections are drawn between the built and natural environment inherited by Australians and the goals and values that communities have expressed through approaches to life and work. Roy Lumby – Chairman of the Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW – demonstrates how the past can be read in a theatre, a department and an incinerator, all built between the wars.

Prominent in many towns and suburbs throughout Australia are war memorials. These provide a visual reminder of the impact world conflicts have wielded on communities throughout the nation. Meredith Walker writes that cemeteries and war memorials are places of continuing interest and attachment in Australian communities. She presents a scene that is familiar throughout rural and urban Australia:

Lists of people involved in World War I, and often of those involved in subsequent wars, are inscribed on war memorials, which become the sites of ceremonies on Anzac Day or Armistice Day. War memorials were often the centrepiece of a small park suitable for annual services, using plants symbolic of sacrifice and loss. Memorial avenues, with each tree dedicated to a fallen soldier, are another way in which communities have commemorated this part of their history.
Following World War II, plaques were added to memorials and substantial funds were contributed by government and communities to commemorating the war effort by providing new local facilities, such as halls, swimming pools and parks in many towns and suburbs.

(Meredith Walker, A Sense of Place, p 39)

While war memorials are substantive fixtures in the Australian landscape – and provide unerring imagery of what it means to be Australian – many of the industrial and architectural achievements of the 1920s and 1930s have not survived. Look at the ways change in the built environment reflected national goals of the period; and how changes in subsequent decades give an insight into changing goals over the century.

Starting points for Expressing national goals – between the wars include:

Heritage places as a springboard for investigating the influences on life in Australia between the wars. Examine heritage places for evidence of influences on life between World War I and World War II

Choosing a syllabus inquiry question or content area and using heritage places as a source of information and evidence. Choose a topic for investigation and access heritage places to gather information and evidence

Taking a retrospective view of the 20th century through an investigation stemming from heritage places. Use the information and evidence provided by heritage places to investigate key influences, events and developments in one of the following focus issues of Australian history:

Australia and the rest of the world

  • Government House, Sydney Customs House
  • Grace Building, Cowra POW Campsite
  • New Italy, Australian Hall
  • Yiu Ming Temple, Dundullimal Homestead

Australia's political history

  • Government House, Sydney Customs House
  • Grace Building, Cowra POW Campsite
  • Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Trades Hall
  • Tranby, Mutawintji National Park

Australia's social and cultural history

  • Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Lithgow Blast Furnace
  • Ritz Theatre, Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator
  • Rose Seidler House, Rookwood Cemetery and Necropolis
  • Kelly's Bush, Susannah Place

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations

  • Willandra Lakes, Parramatta Park
  • Australian Hall
  • Tranby, Mutawintji National Park

Rights and freedoms of various groups

  • Government House, Sydney Customs House
  • Richmond Main Colliery, Glennifer Brae
  • Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Trades Hall
  • Kelly's Bush, Susannah Place

Teachers In building units of work for classroom use with these questions and resources, you may like to consult the NSW History and Geography Stages 4-5 syllabus outcomes.

Innovation and Australia's future

The 1920s saw the opening of palatial cinemas in the capital cities of Australia, as the nation continued to grow. Look at the heritage of the Ritz Cinema and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator and collect evidence about urban expansion between the wars. Consider changing approaches to town planning and architectural design during this period.

Ritz Theatre and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator

Focus questions

  • What do the Ritz Theatre and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator reveal about the influences on life in Australia between the wars?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: urban growth; architectural and technological change; popular culture; the effects of economic change and past and present responses from Australians to international influences?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept and how is it being done?

Ritz - 43 St Paul's Street, Randwick, Sydney


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Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator - 2 Small Street, Willoughby


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Walter Burley Griffin and Aaron Bolot feature in the story of urban growth and development during the 1930s. Both Bolot and Griffin first set foot in Australia prior to World War I. Bolot migrated to Brisbane in 1911 (aged eleven years): Griffin came to Australia in 1912 (at age thirty-six) after winning the Federal Capital competition. Two decades later they collaborated on some of the most innovative architecture of the period.

During the 1930s local governments along the eastern seaboard of Australia moved to adopt new technology for the disposal of waste in an efficient manner. The Willoughby Incinerator commenced operations in 1934 and was Walter Burley Griffin’s most successful adaptation of the vertical feed process incinerator to a steeply sloping landscaped site.

Interior view of the Griffin Willoughby incinerator, 1934

Looking from Small St towards Willoughby Road, 19 April 1934

Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator, Willoughby, 1930s

Constructing the stone wall of the Griffin Willoughby incinerator

The Ritz Theatre – designed by Aaron Bolot – was built in 1937. Bolot had worked with Walter Burley Griffin, producing drawings for the Willoughby incinerator and another located at Pyrmont. Along with hundreds of other cinemas in Sydney, the Ritz was built during the most creative period of cinematic design seen in Australia. Bolot’s design sits between the earlier picture palaces and the cinema complexes that are part of the American dominated cinematic world of the last fifty years. Source: NSW State Heritage Inventory

Federal Capital competition

Griffin's final plan for Canberra

Griffin's plan for Castlecrag

King's Theatre, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

plan of Castlecrag and Haven Estates, 1934

Griffin’s final plan for Canberra, 1918

Video - Haven Amphitheatre at Castlecrag

Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator, Willoughby, 1930s

constructing the Willoughby Incinerator

looking from Small St towards Willoughby Road, 1934

interior view of the Willoughby Incinerator, 1934

Pyrmont Incinerator prior to demolition in May 1992

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Ritz Cinema and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator

Investigating Heritage

How and why did Australian society and culture change during the 1920s and 1930s? How and why was Australia affected by the Great Depression? How did governments respond to the problems caused by the Great Depression?

The Ritz Theatre and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator are linked to investigations focusing on social change in Australia between World War 1 and World War II.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to the Ritz Theatre and Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator. What can these buildings tell us about the past? Look for evidence of leisure and technology.
  • Now look at the other materials provided. What attitudes and values come through in these materials?
  • Investigate the innovative approaches of architects and designers, A.M. Bolot and Walter Burley Griffin. What were the main influences on their work? What do the materials tell us about 1930s innovation and responses to architectural change in Australian communities?
  • Gather information about a cinema that operated in your local area between the wars. Does the cinema still occupy the site? If not, what factors contributed to its demolition? How has the removal of the cinema affected your community?
  • Look at Art Deco web-sites (links) for evidence of the international influences that were at play in Australia during the 1930s.
  • Reflect on the buildings and structures from this period that remain and the elements of the past preserved in these places? How do we identify what is worth preserving?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Identify two sites in your locality — one a place for recreation, and the other dealing with water supply, sewerage treatment or waste disposal.
  • Photograph or video the way members of your community interact with these places — for example, occupy, enter, exit, use them.
  • Identify features of the places that you consider good design, for example, planning that takes ecological concerns into account.
  • Walk around your community noting the age of older buildings. How do these buildings fit into the overall plan of early streets and main access routes into the community?
  • Photograph the buildings and other features — for example, trees, fences, monuments etc — in your community that date from the 1930s or earlier.
  • Find out the purposes served by early buildings during World War 1 and World War II — and in the period between the wars. You can access local community archives, council records and older community residents for information. What can you say about the way the community has viewed and used these places over time? How would you describe early responses to the buildings — enthusiastic, positive, cautious, concerned, negative?
  • Look at early photographs of the buildings and note any changes in their physical structure and surrounds. What factors might have contributed to the changes you observe? How has the community been affected by these changes?
  • Create a visual corridor — utilising the images taken in the local area — of features in the natural and built environment dating from the 1930s or earlier.
  • Develop a booklet detailing a walk in your area that takes in early 20th century features. You could include the comments of residents on the value of the items included in the book.
  • Brainstorm some ideas for future initiatives in your locality — either a new development or the preservation of an existing site. What factors do you need to take into account in developing a plan or proposal?
  • Reflect on the tensions between development and preservation. Why is some of the past lost and some preserved?

Defense and Security

World War I claimed 60 000 Australian lives. At the onset of World War II, Australia followed Great Britain and declared war on Germany. The first Allied shot was fired from Fort Nepean, Victoria at a retreating German ship. Examine the heritage of the Grace Building and Cowra Prisoner of War Camp and collect evidence about the impact of World War II on Australian soil.

Grace Building and Cowra Prisoner of War Camp Site

Focus questions

  • What do the Grace Building and Cowra Prisoner of War Camp site reveal about the influences on life in Australia leading up to and during World War II?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: Australia’s relations in the region and the world; the impact of war; Australian defence and security issues; past and present attitudes of Australians to conflict in the world?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept; and how is it being done?

Grace Building - 77-79 York Street, Sydney


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Cowra POW Campsite - Evans Street, Cowra


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Map of Cowra prisoner of war camp site

Prime Minister John Curtin and USA General Douglas MacArthur

The Grace Building – built between 1928 and 1930 – and the Cowra Prisoner of War (POW) Camp – constructed 1941-42 – are both linked to Australia’s military and defence alliances during World War II. The 1920s were a time of nation building throughout Australia. It was towards the end of this decade that the Grace Building – one of New South Wales’ interwar treasures – was built. When construction commenced, the firm of Grace Bros enjoyed the status of largest retail concern in Australia as well as the largest per capita retail sales anywhere in the world.

Turbulent times in the 1930s saw the decade begin with economic depression and end with war. Under the National Security Regulations the Grace Building was requisitioned in 1942 and was occupied by allied military personnel stationed in Sydney. The ground floor façade of the building was boarded up and an air-raid shelter was constructed in the basement. Prior to this a system of tunnels – running beneath York Street to Circular Quay and Victoria Barracks – was built. The Grace Building became the Australian headquarters of the United States Armed forces – and of General Douglas MacArthur , Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific.

Grace Hotel [video]

In the central tablelands of New South Wales – at the rural township of Cowra (population 3 500 prior to World War II) – the first internees were marched into the Cowra Prisoner of War Camp on 15 October 1941. Prisoners lived in tents until April 1942 when accommodation huts became available. The Cowra POW Camp was built to contain Italian POWs captured by Allied Forces during World War II. The camp – established by the British Military Board – was part of a nationwide system of prisoner-of-war confinement and enemy alien containment. In all, there were twenty-eight major camps in Australia. Source: NSW State Heritage Inventory

Grace Building and Prisoner of War Camp Site

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Investigating Heritage

What were some of the experiences of Australians as a result of their involvement in the war? How did Australia’s relationship with England and the USA change during World War II? How and why did the Federal Government introduce conscription and censorship on the Australian homefront?

The Grace Building and Cowra Prisoner of War Camp Site are linked to investigations focusing on: the defence of Australia; relations between Australia and the USA and England; and aspects of the Australian homefront during war-time.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to the Grace Building and Cowra POW Camp Site. What can these buildings, structures and landforms tell us about the past? Look for evidence of government and administration, defence, commerce and ethnic influences.
  • Investigate the impact of World War II on the Cowra region through visual histories of the POW Camp Site. You will find images of the Camp at the Australian War Memorial site. What is recounted and represented in the images? What perspectives on war come through at these sites?
  • Now look at the other materials associated with the Grace Building and Cowra POW Camp Site. What can these tell us about the experience of war in Australian communities?
  • Visit the Australian War Memorial site to look for visual evidence of the United States Armed Forces on Australian soil. What do the records tell us about government and community attitudes to alliance activities in Australia?
    History M5.6 -explains political events and evaluates their impact on civic life in Australia
  • Reflect on the elements of the past preserved in these places. How do we identify what is worth preserving?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Identify the memorials to war in your local area. Also examine the ways that war is commemorated in your locality. Which of the wars involving Australians are particularly significant to members of your community?
    History M5.17 - defines the purpose of a historical investigation and plans and conducts appropriate research, with some independence
  • Talk to family members about any records or memorabilia they have kept that relate to war-time.
  • Use the information you have collected to develop themes for a class discussion about the recording and remembering of war.
  • Conduct an internet search of Australian sites showing images of war.
  • Consider the purpose and scope of the images presented. What can you say about the depiction of war at these sites? Who is represented in the images of war-time encounters? Who is missing?
  • Reflect on what the images tell us about preserving memories of war in Australia.
  • Now examine overseas web-sites that focus on war — Australian War Memorial links provide a starting point for this search.
  • Look at the meanings conveyed by the image collections and compare these with the perspectives evident in the Australian sites. What can you conclude about the public recounting of war?
  • Discuss your responses to the album and compare these with your responses to images viewed on the internet. What can family memorabilia — such as photo albums — tell us about the war experience in Australian families and communities?
  • Refer to the family records and memorabilia used in the class discussion. What is represented and what is missing? Reflect on why some of the past is preserved and some is lost.

Create a class collage of war-time images.

Use the collage as the basis for a performance presentation.

Approach this task from the perspective of one of many participants with differing appreciations of the climate surrounding war. Your performance could take the form of a radio segment, a sound and movement piece, a poetry reading, the testimony of a witness/survivor.

Advancing Economically

The nation-building of the 1920s saw Australia’s natural resources become a key source of the growing economy. Economic fluctuations and the growth of unionism, however, gave rise to turbulent relationships between workers and employers. Investigate the heritage of Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae and collect evidence about the effects of economic expansion and collapse during this period.

Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae

Investigating places of industrial development and workers activism

Focus questions

  • What do Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae (and the AIS at Port Kembla) reveal about the influences on life in Australia between the World War I and World War II?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: industrial and technological change; growth of trade unionism; exploitation of natural resources; attitudes to communism; the effects of economic change; past and present attitudes of Australians to social equity?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept; and how is it being done?

Richmond Main Colliery - South Maitland Coalfields, Kurri Kurri


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Glenifer Brae - Murphys Avenue, Keiraville, Wollongong


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Glenifer Brae - Murphys Avenue, Keiraville, NSW 2500

The manor was built by the founder of the Port Kembla steelworks, Sidney Hoskins, in 1938. The house and grounds later became a campus of the Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School, until it closed in 1978. The council acquired the property in 1980 and it has since been used for functions and by the conservatorium for almost three decades. In 1999, Glenifer Brae was listed on the state heritage register.

The Wollongong Conservatorium of Music is located in the Grounds of the historic Glennifer Brae, overlooking the Botanic Gardens and the coastal city of Wollongong.

Richmond Main Colliery, South Maitland Coalfields, Kurri Kurri

Collieries around Kurri-Kurri

Richmond Main Colliery (in the Greta-Cessnock area) and Australian Iron and Steel (in the Illawarra) both featured in the economic boom of the 1920s. Richmond Main was one of sixty-six collieries operating on the Greta and Homeville seams. Coal in this area is part of a continuous band running from the Illawarra to Southern Queensland. The seam runs close to the surface around the Greta-Cessnock district, making the coal economical to extract. The Greta Collieries reached their peak in 1925, producing forty percent of the State’s production of high quality low-ash coal.

Construction of the Richmond Main Colliery commenced in 1908. John Brown – managing director and part owner (with his brother) of the firm J&A Brown – spent large sums to ensure that his mining plant, colliery railways, steamships and engineering works were at the forefront of technological development. Richmond Main was one of the largest and most important shaft mines in early 20th century Australia. Peak annual production was reached in 1928. a History of the Greta Coal Measures 1861 - 1998. Sidney and Cecil Hoskins – who moved their steel-making operations from Rhodes in Sydney to Lithgow in 1908 – abandoned their Lithgow site in 1928 and moved to Port Kembla where natural resources and the transport network were more advantageous. Australian Iron and Steel (AIS) was founded in the same year. Sidney Hoskins chose to live in the Illawarra at ‘Glennifer Brae’.

The Hoskins were powerful players in the development of the iron-making industry in Australia. John Brown was recognised as the most influential player in the Australian coal industry. Union activism in the period between the wars saw workers at Richmond Main and Port Kembla seek better employment conditions. Negotiations between trades unions and these powerful employers were on-going. Major economic development in the Greta-Cessnock and Illawarra districts is closely linked to the expansion of coal-mining and iron-making industries in these localities

The development of the South Maitland coalfields led to the establishment of an entire community based on the townships of Cessnock and Kurri Kurri. The collieries in the area have become an emerging focus of community consciousness. Source: NSW State Heritage Inventory

Phil Johnston

Industrial Blacksmith, Richmond Main Colliery

Me running a business out of here keeps this end of the site alive, especially the vintage machine-shop. This is open on a Sunday, I’m generally never working it, it’s a bit much when you’re here for five days a week working and then you’re here on Saturday doing voluntary work on steam locos to come up here again on Sunday, you drive up the road on Monday and you think ‘geez, I can remember being here only yesterday’. But that aside, people can walk into the workshop and they can see it’s being used and they look at it and go ‘hey, this place is still being used, people are still doing work here’. We’ve got piles of jobs on the floor and a pile of scale around the steam hammers. Sometimes it depends how late we’ve been working on a Friday night, the furnace might still have a bit of red heat or something in it, and in that aspect it keeps the place ‘lived-in’ might be a word. There’s a lot of heritage places that are fixed up, restored and nothing’s done with them. And yeah, they look pretty good for the first month, the second month they get full of grass seeds, and dirt and dust, the third month a couple of kids break a window, unless it’s really being used, they just tend to go downhill, especially something like a workshop like this. People sort of run it on special days and a belt might break but because there is no reason for them to fix it really they just take the belt off and put it to one side, and they set up a couple of jobs with the machines and sort of make it look as though they’ve used the machine but they don’t. Well it is just a mock up then, and I suppose there’s gotta be a compromise, we’ve got sort of modern machinery in the workshop, like a mid-welder and that sort of stuff, which obviously wasn’t around when the place was running, but yeah, you gotta make a compromise somewhere or other.

Union activism

In May 1931 unemployed workers throughout the Illawarra demonstrated against the presence of police at food relief depots. At Port Kembla an unidentified man addressed a crowd at the corner of Allan and Wentworth Streets, only to be arrested by a squad of police from Wollongong. The police also charged the crowd and arrested Alexander Slade for indecent language. Slade, an unemployed labourer who was camped at Port Kembla, was typical of the itinerant men who flocked to Port Kembla during the Depression. * In Wollongong the local labour movement and its supporters engaged in a lengthy dispute with the Wollongong Council over the right to hold meetings in the main street of Wollongong – Crown Street – from 1929. The conservative council had rightly gauged the symbolic importance of the main street of Wollongong, and charged protestors with unlawful assembly and participation in unauthorised processions to assert their control over this space.

** see Illawarra Mercury 15 May and 3 July 1931 * see Richardson, L. The Bitter Years: Wollongong during the Great Depression, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1984, pp 75–100 ** Source: Eklund, E. Representing history in the Main Streets of New South Wales, Locality Vol. 9 No. 1, 1998

Cartoons

Common Cause - paper of the Miners’ Federation of Australia

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Investigating Heritage

How and why did Australian society and culture change in the 1920s and 1930s? What were the differing experiences of various groups in Australia during the Great Depression?

Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae are linked to investigations focusing on social change in Australia during the 1920s and 1930s.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae. What can these buildings and artefacts tell us about the past? Look for evidence of mining, labour and industry.
  • Now look at the other materials relating to these places. How have the people associated with Richmond Main Colliery and Glennifer Brae/AIS contributed to change in the Kurri Kurri and Wollongong communities? What responses to change come through in these materials?
  • Look at the way place, landscape and activism are represented in the materials. What do these materials tell us about workers’ experiences in the period between World War I and World War II?
  • Read Turner’s extract and prepare a chronology of union activity between the wars. Each class member could contribute an accompanying visual that gives a sense of the issues confronting workers and employers during this period. In what ways were the conditions workers fought for in the 1930s related to political, economic and environmental concerns at the time?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Focus on an industrial site in your locality. Look at the way the buildings and structures connected to the industry are placed in the wider natural and built environment of your community.
  • Access local records, local histories and archival collections for information on the history of the industry on this site.
  • Look at the changes to landscape over time and some of the historical issues associated with the site.
  • Prepare parallel chronologies — a chronology of landscape change and another of industry development.
  • Use the chronologies as the basis for creating a visual chronology of the industrial site.
  • Reflect on present and future issues facing the industry. What factors might lead to its growth or decline? If industry operations were to decline, what might be preserved on the site and what might be lost? Does your community value the industry enough to ensure certain aspects would be preserved?

On-going action

Develop a leisure concept for the site. This could involve gardens, a recreational space, a mural or an exercise area. You will need to survey people associated with the site to gather their ideas and hear their responses to your ideas.

Investigate local authorities or organisations that you could approach to subsidise and support your plan.

Present your leisure concept to representatives of the industry. You could invite representatives and supportive community members to the school to discuss the plan and the possibilities it offers for community participation.

Integrating perspectives of Economic Groups

Investigate the involvement of economic groups in some significant developments in Australia between 1918 and 1939. What did Australians of different economic backgrounds contribute to urban growth, architectural and technological innovation, popular culture, Australian defence, union activism and changes in work conditions and entitlements?

How can we formulate historical questions that lead to more integrated ways of thinking about issues?

Rather than separating issues in relation to various economic groups, how can investigations be approached in a way that draws on the perspectives of various economic groups?

Integrating perspectives is an attempt to overcome bias in viewing situations and drawing conclusions. Bias develops when we take a narrow look at a particular topic. Analysing problems and issues from a range of viewpoints is the main objective in working with perspectives. So, how do we gather evidence of the diversity of views held by a range of economic groups in relation to an event such as the Great Depression? Much of what marginalised groups thought, felt and did – expressed from their particular viewpoints – went unrecorded in the past. It naturally follows that much of recorded history is biased. Analysis focusing on perspectives, then, requires us to integrate current knowledge and awareness of situations involving marginalised groups – the voices generally unrepresented in the media and public life – in contemporary society. The questions we ask are a key to accessing perspectives. Questions initiating an inquiry reflect the outlook (or perspective) on the investigation – signalling the likely direction an investigation will take. Several inquiry questions in the History syllabus focus on political processes between the wars. Crucial to understanding processes is to look at those included and those excluded from disucssions. Questions that focus on who was involved – and how the representative groups benefited from participation – can illuminate our understandings of the power different economic groups bring to Australian politics today.

One syllabus question clearly stands out as geared to perspectives – What were the differing experiences of various groups in Australia during the Great Depression? Another question that could be investigated from the perspectives of economic groups is:

How and why did Australian society and culture change during the 1920s and 1930s? Analysing this topic in relation to economic groups evokes a key question: Who was involved in changes during the interwar years? For example, who attended the cinemas, who was involved in the retail boom of the 20s, who participated in developing government measures in response to the Depression? Furthering the inquiry, we could ask, What were the goals of different economic groups? For example, what were workers and employers aiming to achieve, what roles did different economic groups perform, what benefits were passed onto different economic groups? And leading into the syllabus related question: How and why the boom and bust period affected people from different socioeconomic backgrounds?

Ultimately, citizenship learning that assists students to work within current social and political systems needs to focus on how the processes that lead up to and beyond the Depression worked to the advantage of certain groups and the disadvantage of others.

Listen to various points of views.

Another approach to integrating the perspectives of economic groups is to ask people of different groups how they view a particular issue. Go to the discussion forum to hear a range of perspectives – including gender, Aboriginal, cultural, socioeconomic – on the meanings and practices associated with heritage. Brian Turner provides some insight into the differing viewpoints of employers and workers around the time of the Great Depression and the growing tensions that resulted.

Investigating Heritage and Popular Culture

Learn about the meanings attached to popular culture and the escalation of global cultural trends. Consider some strategies for ensuring that aspects of popular culture are preserved. Bernie Howitt provides ideas for using rock and roll music to teach about events and developments in Australian history.

Exploring values is central to investigating heritage and popular culture. When we discuss heritage and popular culture are we talking about values ascribed by heritage practitioners – and applied through assessments of significance – or are we focusing on shared values in the community towards aspects of Australian culture and environment?

Or, are practices in relation to heritage and popular culture a meeting ground for both perspectives?

Listen to various points of views

In Investigating heritage and popular culture, the meanings of heritage held by people involved in popular culture act as a starting point for students to identify the values of others and to clarify their own values. The objective is one of working towards an appreciation of diverse cultural values and the shared heritage of all Australians. Popular culture can initiate some vibrant and interesting heritage discussions. Considering heritage and the values applied to preserving items for the future, Chris Johnston notes, "Value can only be evaluated for the present generation and not for future generations. The best we can do is express our views about what we believe future generations may value, and at least ensure that such places are retained to enable those generations to have that choice." Sue Georgevits’ doctoral work focuses on the way generations of one family can look at hierlooms and heritage items with varying appreciation.

Clearly, what is considered important by one generation might not be valued by the next. Cross-generation input into what is kept for future generations is one way of ensuring that items of generational interest are preserved. In investigating heritage and popular culture, interviews with parents and grandparents can focus on what was popular in fashion, film, music, art and recreation at an earlier time. A starting point for students could be to look at cultural life and values in contemporary times and talk about the items and places considered important. Popular culture belongs to living heritage but, being a changing phenomenon, can become a missing part of heritage as cultural items and places are replaced by the new and innovative. Peter Garret observes that "many of the inner city pubs and venues, which nurtured young talent [during the 70s and 80s] which shimmied then shook and raged, have fallen under the hammer." Global networks – and the proliferation of new trends and fashions – tend to increase the frequency and intensity of changes in popular culture. Bernie Howitt uses rock and roll music to teach students about social history. Contemporary music forms are examples of popular culture – and an example that is less prone to extinction, as forms of music covering a number of decades are layered in popular music culture. Howitt observes, "A whole generation has grown up with it [rock and roll], and a new generation has never know a world without it. From being a symbol of moral, racial and social deviance, rock and roll is now considered acceptable. It is impossible to study the post World War II without understanding it."

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