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SubSection MarkerReshaping Cultural Values

1970's - Now Greenbans and beyond - Reshaping Cultural Values - A teaching unit

Examine social and political issues in Australia from the 1970s to the end of the century. Visit places of cultural importance – including those where people work towards reconciliation, practise cultural traditions, act to save Australia’s heritage and environment – and gather information about the attitudes and values of Australians at the end of the 20th century. Consider the action taken by Australians to repair the environment during this period.

Focus Areas

Use the resources and activities in Reshaping cultural values – greenbans and beyond to examine the inquiry questions in Stage 5 History Social and Political Life from the 1970s to the 1990s and Stage 5 Geography Issues in Australian Environments.

Investigate six heritage places – drawn from the New South Wales State Heritage Inventoryexternal link(SHI NSW) – for evidence of the major influences on Australian life from the 1970s to the 1990s. Discuss contemporary ideas of heritage, for example, values underlying celebrations that reflect the shared values of Australians – and the connections between places that these ideas generate.

Explore the ways that oral histories can contribute to an understanding of the past. Activities in this unit incorporate ideas for using oral histories to examine important events and developments and the effects of these on people’s lives. Connections are drawn between buildings, environments, communities and the events and cultural practices that give rise to personal and collective identity. Interviews with activists of the green-ban period provide an opportunity for thinking about the ways the past is remembered and recorded.

Paula Hamilton discusses the way oral histories can contribute to explorations of the past.

The following is a transcript of a taped interview:

Oral History’s been one of the methods that have been, its been used more recently, particularly since the 1960s, to try and work out people’s experience of events, or the past, to try and work with that, and it’s usually collaborative, like you make the history with the person involved, and its been used in a whole lot of areas, increasingly, that involve talking to people about the things that they value, and heritage obviously is one of those areas, but Oral History is also vital in areas like Native Title, in terms of Aboriginal claims to land and in one way, the only way they can ascertain how long people’s attachment has been to land and how they have used it and how is it socially significant, is through the collection of Oral Histories.

And obviously Oral History has a great many other uses in heritage organisations. National Parks is using Oral History as a methodology in terms of working out significance of particular sites, particularly post-contact, there’s a huge move away from an assumption that heritage is only, in archaeological terms or Aboriginal terms, pre-contact, or that everything’s nineteenth century. So that Oral History comes in when you’re talking of a past that’s twentieth century and you’re looking now to determine what is, or what can be, significant in the future, so obviously it’s to do with a living heritage.

(Hamilton, interview for Teaching Heritage)

Starting points for Reshaping cultural values – greenbans and beyond include:

Heritage places as a springboard for investigating the influences on life in Australia at the end of the 20th century.
Examine heritage places for evidence of influences on life at the end of the 20th century

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.

Dialogues for Reconciliation

1992 was the year that the High Court Mabo decision overturned the assumption of terra nullius. Look at the heritage of Tranby Aboriginal College and Mutawintji National Park and collect evidence about past and present relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Consider initiatives towards self-determination and reconciliation. Trace the discussions that have acknowledged varying perspectives on land, culture, spirituality and education.

Tranby Aboriginal College and Mutawintji National Park

Focus questions

  • What do Tranby and Mutawintji National Park reveal about the influences on life in contemporary Australia?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: reconciliation; native title; self-determination; issues of Aboriginal heritage; past and present relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept; and how is it being done?

Reconciliation is defined by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation as ‘healing the ruptured relationships’. The right for self-determination is an element of reconciliation central to approaches taken at Tranby Aboriginal College and Mutawintji National Park.

Kevin Cook, Executive Adviser at Tranby, comments:

Over the years Tranby students and staff have struggled together for the right to develop independently, to pursue self-determination in education for Aboriginal people, education on our terms, according to our communities’ needs and aspirations. We have paved the way for courses to be developed by our Elders, according to criteria that remains spiritually, culturally and educationally Aboriginal.

view video of these sites

Originally known as ‘Toxteth Cottage’, Tranby was situated in the grounds of Toxteth Park Estate and was home to members of the Allen family between 1858 and 1931. In 1931 it became a hostel for the University if Sydney. In 1957 the Australian Board of Missions Christian Community Co-operative gained control of Tranby. The first and only independent, Aboriginal controlled adult education centre in Australia was established here.
Tranby provides a venue for discussions around issues of importance to indigenous people – this includes meetings that lead to the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody. Initiatives involving the Tranby community have contributed to government policy development in areas such as self-determination and reconciliation.

Mutawintji National Park – occupying 70,000 hectares of land – is located 130 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill, in western New South Wales. The park was the first of five National Parks in New South Wales to be handed back to local Aboriginal communities. Mutawintji was leased back to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) by the Mutawintji Land Council, to be managed by a joint committee of Aboriginal community members, the local Land Council and the NPWS.

The hand-back of National Parks to local Aboriginal communities is seen as an important step in reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Recognition and appreciation of indigenous culture is a key feature of the approach to managing Mutawintji National Park. Crucial to the approach is recognising indigenous groups as the cultural owners and managers of information relating to their heritage.
Source: NSW State Heritage Inventory

Tranby Aboriginal College

Tranby - 13 Mansfield Street, Glebe, Sydney


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Mutawintji National Park

Mutawintji National Park - 130 km north-west of Broken Hill


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Tranby Aboriginal College

The design of the classrooms reflects the cultural values of the college. The circular rooms reflect a philosophy of equality in communication… When the plans prepared by the architects Julie Cracknell and Peter Lonergan were submitted to Leichhardt Council, they created a huge amount of opposition.
(from ‘Tranby: continuity, conservation and contemporary values’ in reflections Oct-Jan 2000)

Tranby Aboriginal College

Mutawintji National Park

Mutawintji National Park - excerpt from Sites and Scenes CD-ROM

A distant view of Mount Wrightb>

Aerial view showing the edge between rocky park and overgrazed desert

A striking landscape of Mutawintji National Park

Rock peckings found in Mutawintji National Park

Rock peckings found in Mutawintji National Park

Rock peckings found in Mutawintji National Park

Carvings on an open-rock surface

Rock paintings found in Mutawintji National Park

Stencils of hands found in Mutawintji National Park

Rock paintings found in Mutawintji National Park

Stencils of hands found in Mutawintji National Park

An entrance sign to Mutawintji National Park

Visitors to Mutawintji National Park

Visitors to Mutawintji National Park

Visitors to Mutawintji National Park

The Mutawintji Blockade

The Mutawintji Blockade in September 1983 was an action to demand a sudden change from the insults of the past. The blockade may have been a surprise and inconvenience to some white people, but it very clearly showed that Aboriginal people regard this place as of special significance. It is sacred. We cannot compromise on this. But controlled tourism can be agreed on as long as Aboriginal people are involved in settling the conditions and explaining Aboriginal culture to visitors. This is the task we are working on.

John A Quayle speaking in 1984, from Allen Fox and Associates, Supplement to Draft Plan of management, Mootwingee National Park, Mootwingee Historic Site and Coturaundee Nature Reserve Plan of Management, National Parks and Wildlife Service of NSW, Western Division, Broken Hill, 1986, p 284

Park ranger’s perspective on Mutawintji National Park

Park ranger’s perspective on Mutawintji National Park

NSW Department of Education and Training Sites and Scenes 1999

Visitor Introduction at Mutawintji Cultural Centre

Hi. Welcome to Mutawintji National Park, and thank you for taking the time to visit our Cultural Centre. My name is Lorna. I am a senior ranger at Mutawintji National Park and am also a member of the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council. I am here to answer your questions during your stay and tell you what to expect from Mutawintji National Park. Today I would like to explain the more recent history of this place.

In 1983, Mutawintji National Park attained notoriety, reaching national headlines, because we, the Aboriginal people from far western New South Wales, got together and closed the park to visitors. We took this action because we were not happy with the way the park was being run by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Amongst other things, we wanted to have more involvement with how the park was being interpreted to visitors. Speaking in 1984, John A. Quayle summed up our feelings about the Blockade:

"The Mutawintji Blockade in September 1983 was an action to demand a sudden change from the insults of the past. The blockade may have been a suprise and inconvenience to some white people, but it very clearly showed that Aboriginal people regard this place as of special significance. It is sacred. We cannot compromise on this. But controlled tourism can be agreed on as long as Aboriginal people are involved in settling the conditions and explaining Aboriginal culture to visitors. This is the task we are working on." (From Allen Fox and Associates, Supplement to Draft Plan of Management, Mootwingee National Park, Mootwingee Historic Site and Coturaundee Nature Reserve Plan of Management, National Parks and Wildlife Service of NSW, Western Division, Broken Hill, 1986. p 284.)

After the 1983 blockade, Aboriginal owners and descendants became increasingly involved with the running of Mutawintji National Park and the way it was being interpreted to visitors. At this time, accommodation was built for the new, predominantly Aboriginal staff, many of whom were descended from the original owners. Aboriginal people were employed in various capacities; as guides, rangers and maintenance workers. In 1997, a controversial decision by the State Government meant that prisoners from nearby Broken Hill Prison undertook general maintenance work at Mutawintji. Although there was some criticism of this program, particularly from unions, it was an important step in fostering a sense of pride and cultural understanding in these people, many of whom were from an Aboriginal background. Many of the people involved in this scheme attended the hand-back ceremony in September 1998.

In 1998, Mutawintji National Park was officially handed back to its original owners. Subsequently the park was leased back to the State Government and managed by a board made up of members from Mutawintji

Local Aboriginal Land Council, Broken Hill Council, local landowners and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Aboriginal people continue to have strong ties to Mutawintji National Park; we have control over the running of the park and of how it is interpreted to visitors. Importantly we decide where visitors can go, and which areas are sacred sites. There are some places that are off-limits to visitors, such as the Snake Cave. Places that are open and accessible to visitors include: art sites at Homestead Gorge and the Amphitheatre; hills and creek flats surrounding Homestead Gorge; the Western Ridges; and the Two Mile Tank area.

Mutawintji Historic Site has considerable spiritual significance for local Aboriginal people. Tourists can visit Mutawintji Historic Site only as part of a guided tour. Tours follow already established walking trails, including Galleries Track and Wilyakali Track. These tracks have recently been upgraded to stop erosion and also have improved signposting. Keep to these clearly marked paths, and do not leave your tour groups. Leaving your group will not only have an impact on the surrounding environment, but can be dangerous. Many people have been stranded in this desert country in the past, without food or water.

On your tour to this sacred place, you will get to explore the unique and rugged landscape of outback New South Wales. If you are lucky, you may see rare arid-zone vegetation or else admire beautiful animals and birds. You will have the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of the wondrous rockholes. If the weather is cool enough, we will encourage you to carefully explore the rockart, some of which is hidden deep within the ‘galleries’.

I hope you have a great time at Mutawintji National Park. Please do not hesitate to visit the Cultural Centre throughout your stay. We welcome your inquiries.

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Investigating Heritage

What steps took place leading to the recognition of land rights and native title? Why was there a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody? What is meant by self-determination and reconciliation?

Tranby and Mutawintji National Park are linked to investigations focusing on issues confronting Aboriginal peoples, including questions of reconciliation and self-determination.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to Tranby Aboriginal College and Mutawintji National Park. What can the buildings, artefacts and landforms tell us about the past? Look for evidence of Aboriginal occupation, environment, pastoralism and education.
  • Now look at the oral accounts of people associated with Mutawintji National Park and Tranby. What attitudes and values come through in these accounts? Can you identify any issues connected to reconciliation? What do the materials tell us about approaches to reconciliation that indigenous people favour and advocate?
  • Focus on the participation of Aboriginal peoples in environmental and heritage management. What attitudes and values to heritage and environmental issues are conveyed in the materials? Is there any evidence of connections between heritage and environment in Aboriginal perspectives?
  • Look at the key discussions participated in by indigenous people and the changes that have occurred as a result. How have indigenous and non-indigenous communities responded to these changes?
  • What can Tranby Aboriginal College and Mutawintji National Park tell us about the reconciliation experience for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Look in your school library or local library for examples of oral testimonies and histories.
  • Identify the key themes covered in these histories and testimonies. Why do you think the people interviewed were selected to take part?
  • Focus on an environmental or heritage issue involving Aboriginal people. What can you say about the perspectives of indigenous participants towards the issue? Can you identify the key perspectives and main arguments that are being put forward? Are there any central ideas that could be used as a starting point in discussing the issue?
  • Look at the guidelines provided for interviewing Aboriginal people. What are the key points recommended in accessing the views, opinions and stories of Aboriginal Australians?
  • Examine a range of interviews with Aboriginal people. Look at the ABC web-site (link) for some examples.
  • Consider the questions asked by interviewers. Look at the approach taken in interviews and the influence of perspectives, attitudes, types of questions and meanings associated with words and phrases.
  • Develop a set of questions to ask an Aboriginal participant on the issue you are investigating. Include questions that display empathy to cultural background and others that demonstrate lack of empathy.
  • Use your questions to conduct simulated interviews. What links can you identify between your approach to communication and the responses you gain in an interview?
  • Reflect on the cultural meanings that Aboriginal peoples bring to heritage and environmental issues. How do Aboriginal communities identify what is worth preserving?

Saving our Heritage

In 1974 protesting Sydney residents were responsible for delaying in excess of $3 000 million worth of development in the city. Examine the heritage of Kelly’s Bush and Susannah Place and collect evidence about the places, sites and issues of important heritage value to Australians.

Susannah Place and Kelly's Bush

Focus questions

  • What do Susannah Place and Kelly’s Bush reveal about the influences on life in contemporary Australia?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: the meanings of citizenship and civic participation in Australia; the role of governments in heritage preservation; past and present values of Australians towards preserving heritage?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept; and how is it being done?

The green-ban period was a time when community groups mobilised to save parts of Sydney's built and natural environment. Verity Burgmann describes the background to the struggles:

[It] is the story of the destruction of Australia’s major cities in the 1960s and early 1970s, when vast amounts of money were poured into property development: giant glass and concrete buildings changed the face of our cities and valuable old buildings were razed in the process. The interests of homebuyers and architectural heritage lost out before often purely speculative construction. At one stage there were ten million square feet of office space in Sydney’s business district, while people looking for their first homes or flats could find nothing.

Against this backdrop, 42 greenbans were imposed in Sydney by 1974, holding up well over $3000 million worth of development. The Rocks area and Kelly’s Bush are places where community members acted to save Australia’s heritage from redevelopment.

Susannah Place - 58-64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks, Sydney


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Kelly's Bush - Nelson Parade, Hunters Hill, Sydney


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Built in 1844, Susannah Place – located in The Rocks – is an example of the urban consolidation that occurred in Sydney during the 1840s. An early Victorian terrace row of four individual dwellings – including a corner shop – Susannah Place survived the demolitions that followed the outbreak of the plague in 1900. Resident resistance saved the row of terraces from demolition in the early 1970s.
Susannah Place was saved from redevelopment when the Builders Labourers’ Federation (BLF) enforced a green-ban on the area. Green-bans were only imposed in areas where union action received community support; the bans represented an alliance between unionists and community activists.

Susannah Place

The Greenbans Movement began in 1971 with action to save Kelly’s Bush. Six hundred people attended a public meeting where they voiced opposition to AV Jennings building homes on native bushland on the foreshore of the Parramatta River. The action was spearheaded by a group of thirteen women – known as the ‘Battlers for Kelly’s Bush’ – and the Builders Labourers’ Federation.
On 4 September 1983, the Premier of New South Wales announced that Kelly’s Bush would be set aside for full public access on a permanent basis.

Acting to save Australia’s heritage - protestors in Victoria Street

Houses in Woolloomooloo being demolished in 1968 for the eastern suburbs railway.

Greenbans

Kelly's bush

Kelly's Bush

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Investigating Heritage

How and why have Australians sought to preserve their natural and built heritage?

Susannah Place and Kelly’s Bush are linked to investigations focusing on heritage and environmental issues in Australian communities.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to Susannah Place and Kelly’s Bush. What can the buildings, artefacts, landforms and vegetation tell us about the past? Look for evidence of technology, commerce, housing, townships and environment.
  • Consider the recollections of those involved in the green bans. What did environmental activism in the 1970s represent to communities threatened by redevelopment? How did people decide what was worth preserving? What attitudes and values come through in the accounts of participants? Do you recognise any attitudes or assumptions that are evident in current heritage and environmental debates?
  • Consider the perspectives presented on the green-bans – what the movement stood for, the processes involved, the effectiveness of alliances, peoples recollections of the way actions were organised and evolved. What can these oral accounts tell us about the role of memory in reconstructing the past?
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of oral histories and testimonies. What other sources would you access to gain a fuller picture of the green-bans period?
  • What can Kelly’s Bush and Susannah Place tell us about the experience of social change and environmental activism in Australia communities?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Examine local newspapers and community newsletters (environmental group, local historical society, National Trust committee) for a current action in your locality aimed at saving part of the natural or built environment.
  • Identify the key players in the discussion/debate and the main arguments being put forward.
  • Access newspaper articles in the local media and local studies collection of your community library. Can you identify any links between the current issue and past discussions and actions in your community? What can you say about the way community members have viewed development in your locality over time?
  • Consider the opposing arguments of key players in the issue under investigation. What are the main arguments for and against development?
  • Invite individuals or group representatives to the school to present their position on the issue. What strategies for advocacy and action are they using? How have they interacted and worked with other community members over the issue? What are their predictions about future discussions and actions?
  • Analyse the way issues are managed and strategic positions are developed in local area politics.
  • Reflect on the opportunities for youth to participate in actions at the local government level. What strategies would you utilise to ensure young people had a voice in community decisions that impact on the environment and/or local heritage?

Extension

  • Prepare a class response to the proposals for action put forward. This could be published in the local media and copies sent to local government representatives. How do the views of your group differ from those of key players? In what ways are your ideas similar?

Images of Continuing Cultures

Latest census figures reveal that 45% of Australian-born children have one parent who was born in another country. Investigate the heritage of Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead and collect evidence about changing images of being Australian. Consider the potential of heritage approaches to recognise the contribution of many cultures to one nation.

Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead

Focus questions

  • What do Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead reveal about their influences on life in contemporary Australia?
  • How do the influences revealed by these places contribute to our understanding of: multiculturalism; cultural continuity; Australia’s regional and global links; past and present attitudes to public participation in heritage decisions?
  • What is being preserved in these places; who decided what was important and should be kept; and how is it being done?

Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead are part of the collective cultural heritage of Australia. While Yiu Ming Temple has special significance for the people who visit and worship there, it is also connected to the story of Chinese settlement in Australia – a story that is part of the heritage of all Australians. Dundullimal Run was the head station of a large squatting run and is associated with land division and growth of the pastoral industry over two hundred years. The homestead and buildings are a tangible link with the history of pastoralism, regional settlement, land use and economies.

Yiu Ming Temple - 16-22 Retreat Street, Alexandria, Sydney


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Dundullimal Homestead - Obley Road, Dubbo


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Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead

Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead communicate an Australian way of life. Retreat Street Alexandria illustrates a community approach to survival and adaptation to life in a new country. Dundullimal Homestead also represents the human spirit to survive and adapt. Peter Garrett views heritage work as "aiming to serve the community interest, to discharge a responsibility to earth and culture in the context of a civil society". Recognising the contribution of many cultures to one nation is integral to Australian civil society.

Immigrants from China have lived in Retreat Street Alexandria – the site of the Yiu Ming Temple – since the 1870s. Over this period the Yiu Ming Society – one of the oldest and largest of the Chinese societies – has assisted immigrants from two counties in Guandong by providing low cost housing, financial support and employment opportunities. Yiu Ming Temple is an important place of worship and communal activity for Sydney’s Chinese community. Its construction – authorised by the Yiu Ming Society – commenced in 1908 and was completed in 1910.

Harry Choy, President Yiu Ming Society

Built in 1842, Dundullimal Homestead is the oldest house in western New South Wales. Dundullimal is name of the Aboriginal group that occupied the area around Dubbo: the word Dundullimal means thunderstorm or hailstorm. Dundullimal Run was originally established beyond the ‘limits of location’ – in an area the authorities restricted for settlement. Dundullimal Homestead was last occupied in the 1950s by a descendent of the property owner from 1871-1914, Thomas Baird. The National Trust currently manages the homestead as a working museum.

Dundullimal Homestead by Blue the Shearer

It wasn’t your normal historical home,
Set in acres of well-tended lawn.
It wasn’t constructed of convict-made bricks,
Or the place where a nation was born.
Dundullimal Homestead was none of these things,
Palatial, imposing or grand,
But the way it was built, and the way it survives,
Embodies the soul of our land.
Extract from a poem by Blue the Shearer, from Sites and Scenes

Plan of Dundullimal Homestead

Scenes in and around Dundullimal Homestead prior to restoration [1973-83]

[1973-83]

Dundullimal Homestead - excerpt from Sites and Scenes CD-ROM

Teacher brainstorm on the development of classroom activities

Investigating Heritage

Is Australia an egalitarian society? How have images of being Australian changed? How and why have Australians sought to preserve their natural and built environment?

Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead are linked to investigations focusing on: egalitarianism and diversity in Australian society; and heritage and environmental issues.

  • Examine the images and text information relating to Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead. What can the buildings, artefacts and relics tell us about the past? Look for evidence of pastoralism, religion, ethnic influences, migration and Aboriginal occupation.
  • Read the oral accounts of people associated with Yiu Ming Temple and the views expressed about Dundullimal Homestead.
  • List the cultural practices and symbols included in these accounts. What do the accounts tell us about community attitudes to places considered an important part of cultural tradition?
  • Consider the rituals connected to these places. What do these convey about community attitudes?
  • Identify the elements and symbols that help to thread a culture together over time. What can Yiu Ming Temple and Dundullimal Homestead tell as about the experience of cultural preservation in Australia?
  • Talk to a friend or family member to gain their views on important aspects of culture that are worth preserving. How do we decide what to keep?

Investigating Heritage and Citizenship

  • Read the account of the opening ceremony to the 1958 Olympic Games in Melbourne. Which aspects of Australian culture were included?
  • Speculate on the cultural aspects included in the opening of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. What might an Australian opening to the 2020 Games look like?
  • Focus on views of heritage held by people in your locality.
    Identify cultural influences represented in the community and conduct interviews with people from diverse backgrounds. You will need to decide on the key themes of the interview.
  • Identify the aspects of culture that people would like to preserve and any threats they identify to losing cultural traditions. What do the interviewees consider most important about their cultural heritage? How would they decide which cultural practices to preserve?
  • Compare responses to tradition across cultures. Think about the place of tradition and cultural continuity in your own life. Can you identify any common elements in the practice of cultural traditions for people from diverse backgrounds?
  • Use interview findings – collated across the class group – to develop ways that the school can contribute to continuing cultures, perhaps multilingual signs, recognition of important ethnic celebrations, imagery in the school that celebrates diversity.
  • Prepare articles for the local press – including the ethnic press – which convey the school’s approach to cultural preservation.

On-going action

  • Start a file of cultural preservation issues in your community. You can review this on a regular basis and respond through the local press to issues you believe are important to cultural richness in your community.
  • Reflect on your assumptions and attitudes in contributing to this discussion. What do they reflect about your own views of heritage? Do they tell you anything about why some of the past is preserved and some is lost?

Integrating Regional and Global Perspectives

Investigate the involvement of regional and global contacts in some significant issues for Australia from the 1970s to the 1990s. What have leaders and organisations in the Asia-Pacific region and other parts of the globe contributed to social, political and economic developments in Australia towards the end of the 20th century?

How can we formulate historical questions that lead to more integrated ways of thinking about issues? Rather than separating regional and global issues from national issues, how can investigations be approached in a way that draws on regional and global perspectives?

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 regional and global groups in relation to developments such as reconciliation? Much of what marginalised groups thought, felt and did – expressed from their particular viewpoints – went unrecorded in the past. This phenomenon became less stark towards the end of the 20th century, but it nonetheless pervades written history – oral history goes some way towards giving more representative interpretations of the past.

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 at the end of the century. Crucial to understanding processes is to look at those included and those excluded from these discussions.

Questions that focus on who was involved – and how the representative groups benefited from participation – can illuminate our understandings of the power overseas governments, groups and organisations bring to Australian politics today.

What is meant by self-determination and reconciliation?

Analysing this topic in relation to regional and global perspectives evokes a key question: Who was (and is currently) involved in discussions about reconciliation and self-determination? For example, who is representing indigenous viewpoints, who is providing input on approaches taken in other parts of the world, who is representing the various groups with an interest in reconciliation with indigenous people? Furthering the inquiry we could ask, What are participant groups trying to achieve through their involvement? For example, what are the main arguments and positions of those contributing to discussions, what roles are they performing, what networks and groups are keeping discussions on the agenda. Questions such as those posed here can assist us to gather understandings about the meanings associated with self-determination and reconciliation.

Ultimately, citizenship learning that assists students to work within current social and political systems will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of unfolding reconciliation processes.

listen to various points of views

Another approach to integrating regional and global perspectives is to ask people in different parts of the world – internet chat groups is one way – how they view a particular issue. Go to the discussion forum on this site to hear a range of perspectives – including gender, Aboriginal, cultural, socioeconomic – on the meanings and practices associated with heritage. Considering an event such as the Vietnam War from the viewpoint of Australia’s involvement as a nation – without looking at the international involvement or the impact of involvement at the local level – is an example of potential bias in analysing important events in Australian history (Stages 4–5 History syllabus).

Investigating Rural Heritage

Learn about initiatives to conserve and protect Australia’s rural heritage. Community-based projects are one of the strategies being used to document and record places that provide evidence of rural life and work in Australia’s past. Look at a unique heritage initiative – the Cobb & Co project – and consider its potential as a model to be used in other communities, including school classrooms.

Exploring values is central to investigating rural heritage. When we discuss rural heritage 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 the area of rural heritage a meeting ground for both perspectives?

listen to various points of views

In Investigating rural heritage, the meanings of heritage held by individuals and groups living in rural areas 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 the values in rural communities and the shared heritage of all Australians.
One focus for rural heritage is timber buildings, yards and fences of the 19th century. Many of these are rapidly deteriorating, with changing farming practices and economic constraints making conservation and retention of places impossible. Questions are being asked such as: Should we attempt to save these working buildings? Can they be adapted to new purposes? How do we as a community ensure their survival?

The concern over rural heritage dating from the 19th century is connected to changing technologies and types of structures built on farms at the end of the century. Corrugated galvanised iron replaced the bark and shingle roofs of the earlier generation, structural timbers were circular sawn, weatherboards were easier and cheaper than splitting slabs from logs and improved transport meant that factory-produced materials were accessible for the rural builder. By World War II the era of indigenous timber buildings had come to an end as prefabricated steel structures became readily available.

Community-based projects are often successful in promoting the heritage of a rural area. They can also bring commercial benefits. Communities frequently begin by documenting and recording the places that are considered important in the locality's history. Methods such as oral histories, photographic records and local research can provide important clues to the history of important places.

An innovative approach to investigating and promoting rural heritage is the Cobb & Co tourist trail running between Bathurst and Bourke. This model could be replicated in other localities, including classrooms, through accessing internet and multimedia facilities.

Cobb & Co Coach

At Narromine Showground the Cobb & Co Coach takes people for a ride at the Launch of the Cobb & Co Heritage Trail Bathurst to Bourke&Mac226; book in September 1999.

Nyngan Coach Works, at Nyngan.

Nyngan Coach Works, at Nyngan. This Coachworks&Mac226; displays Cobb & Co Coaches under construction amidst a group of 19th Century buildings.

Cobb & Co Coach

The Cobb & Co Coach (from Queensland - colour white) visits Byrock Public School and took the children for a ride. (May 2000).

Cobb & Co Coach

Image Bathurst Coach at Tourist Office. One of the very rare original Cobb & Co coaches restored and on display at Bathurst Visitors Centre - September 2000.

Cobb & Co Coach draws up at the Royal Hotel in Orange

Cobb & Co Coach draws up at the Royal Hotel in Orange during the Launch of the Cobb & Co Trail. This hotel was a staging post for Cobb & Co in the 19th Century where horses where changed and travellers could take a rest.

Cobb & Co Heritage Trail plaque

The distinct Cobb & Co Heritage Trail plaque placed on buildings that have survived since the 19th Century and were places Cobb & Co once visited.

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