Why Did Colonial Art Make Australia Look So English?

As early as Level 3 and 4 the Victorian Curriculum suggests ‘examining paintings and accounts (by observers such as Watkin Tench and David Collins) to determine the impact of early British colonisation on Aboriginal peoples’ country’ (p38).  At Levels 5 and 6 students should be ‘investigating the impact of settlement on the environment, for example, comparing the present and past landscape and the flora and fauna of the local community.’ (p42)  Levels 7 and 8 students learn to examine and compare  ‘their accuracy, usefulness and reliability’ (p73) as they ‘analyse the different perspectives of peoples in the past using sources’ (p73). At Levels 9 and 10 they  become competent in using ICT to help ‘identify literal and symbolic features of sources and explain their purpose and inferences’ (p74) and ’evaluate different historical interpretations and contested debates’ (p 84).

Here are some suggestions for how these goals can be achieved, with materials and exercises that can be adapted up and down the Curriculum levels.