Primary resources

A range of online resources designed to support student learning in the classroom or at home.

Stage 1


Life in the past...stinks!

We can’t go back in time, we can still visit the places where people once lived and worked - and do some of their jobs

Black and white image of a boy looking out a window

Growing up in the early 1900s

What was life like for ordinary working-class children living in the suburbs or on the fringes of Australian cities in the early 1900s?

3D model of a bone object

Toys in the past

Let your Stage 1 students explore this 3D mystery object to find out more about games played by children and adults in the past

Stage 2

Convict Sydney

Convict punishment: the treadmill

As a punishment, convicts were made to step continuously on treadmills to power wheels that ground grain

Convict Sydney

Convict Women & the Female Factory

Only about 13 per cent of convicts were women

Photograph of a wooden model depicting a First Fleet ship.

First Fleet Ships

At the time of the First Fleet’s voyage there were some 12,000 British commercial and naval ships plying the world’s oceans

Watercolour painting of two ships on the water, with sandstone outcrop in foreground and shoreline in background.

Why were convicts transported to Australia?

Until 1782, English convicts were transported to America, however that all changed after 1783

3D model of a metal object

Convict life

What can this object from the 1800s tell us about convict life at Hyde Park Barracks?

Stage 2 & 3

Woman in vdieo with overlay of activity sheet.

Activity: draw a convict from an indent

Watch this short video and learn how to use an original Convict Indent listing to draw a real convict

Kneeling man farewelling seated woman.

Activity: make your own convict love token

Learn about convict love tokens and some of the convicts at the Hyde Parks Barracks

Child convicts of Australia - Chapter 1 Transportation and the First Fleet

Child convicts of Australia

For more than 50 years, convicts were transported from Britain to New South Wales. These included children as young as nine years of age


Day in the life of a convict

Between 1819 and 1848 over 50,000 male convicts passed through the Hyde Park Barracks

Actors dressed as convicts in hammocks.

Transportation: one convict’s experience

What do we know about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past?


What was life in early Sydney like for convicts?

By 1801 Sydney had grown into a little village with streets and buildings

Stage 3

Building the railways in NSW

How significant was the arrival of the railway in NSW?


Were bushrangers villains or heroes?

During the colonial period bushrangers committed serious crimes. However, to some people they might have seemed impressive

Illustration of goldfields with figures dressed in Chinese-style clothing working.

Chinese on the goldfields

By the early 1850s, news of a gold rush in Australia sparked an influx in Chinese migration to Australia.

Barbara Zammit holding a photo of her ancestor immigrant Rose McGee
Convict Sydney

Female migration

For many women in the UK migration was seen as an opportunity to change their fortunes - to escape poverty, find work and start a family

Illustration of historic building.

Electric telegraph in NSW

The electric telegraph revolutionised communication throughout the colony

Close up view of an animal skeleton

Digging up the past

Use this animal skeleton, found at the site of First Government House, to develop students’ archaeological investigation skills and knowledge of animal biology


What does archaeology tell us?

Who were the secret archaeologists living at the Hyde Park Barracks?

Detail shot of the historical objects used during a virtual excursion.

Object analysis

Investigate what objects can tell us about the past by exploring these 3D scans of collection objects from MHSNW

Illustration of gold fields.

Gold rush & bushrangers!

What was life like during the NSW gold rush?

Front and back of gold coin, showing details of inscription. Embossed text obverse side of coin; ‘VICTORIA D:G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F:D: 1860’. Embossed text reverse of coin; 'SYDNEY MINT / AUSTRALIA / HALF SOVEREIGN'.

The NSW gold rush

What happened if a goldminer found gold?

3D model of a stone object

The Gold Rush

How does this object relate to the Gold Rush and, if you struck lucky, what could a gold sovereign buy you in the 1850s?

Blue police cap.

Troopers & Aboriginal trackers

What was it like to be in the mounted police?


Troopers, Trackers, Bushrangers and their weapons

The three phases of the war against bushrangers

Secondary resources

A range of online resources designed to support student learning in the classroom or at home.

Stage 4


What does archaeology tell us?

Who were the secret archaeologists living at the Hyde Park Barracks?

Stage 5

Photograph of Antonio Agostini with police in 1944

The law of provocation in Australia

How did past social values affect legal outcomes in Australia?

Stage 5: Depth Study 3 Australians at War

Frayed at edges, certificate with red cross symbol in ornate diagram at top, and cursive script below.

Home Front

As the war stretched on, thousands of women at home in Australia supported the war effort by volunteering for patriotic fundraising activities

Building behind picket fence with gate shut.

Registering aliens

On 10 August 1914, less than a week after Australia entered World War I, the Australian government defined a new type of resident: the enemy alien

Two photos side by side; man seated and man standing, with hat on.

Fallen hero of Flanders

In 1922, petty criminal Arthur Ernest Noonan was arrested by Sydney police to face charges of conspiracy to defraud

Two photos side by side, first showing seated man, second showing man standing, with hat on.

Returned from active service

In July 1921 James Arthur Banfield was arrested by Sydney police, photographed and charged on three counts of larceny

Stage 6

Photograph of Antonio Agostini with police in 1944

The law of provocation in Australia

How did past social values affect legal outcomes in Australia?