HSC Paper 1 Area of Study Imaginative Writing Task

Student activities

Task no. 1

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Responding to visual sources

Write down ideas for how each of the following visuals could be used for an imaginative response on the concept of discovery. Then select one and compose an imaginative response that uses the image as a central focus for a piece about discovering something new or rediscovering something forgotten. 

Refer to the marking guidelines (available as a downloadable resource) as you complete the task. 

Task no. 2

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Responding to discoveries

The following visuals from the State Library focus on new and provocative discoveries. Examine the following visual sources and read the notes provided before you record some possible ideas for an imaginative response.

Refer to the marking guidelines (available as a downloadable resource) as you complete the task. 


Return to Coopers Creek - Burke and Wills expedition

On August 20 1860 Robert O’Hara Burke and William Wills who had no experience in exploration, led a planned return expedition from the south of Australia to the north and back again. The ill-fated expedition was plagued by poor decisions.

The tree in the sketch above was where supplies had been left at Cooper’s Creek for the expedition by William Brahe. When they arrived at the tree they found the camp site deserted - the ashes of the campfire were still warm. Brahe's party had left only seven hours earlier with most of the food.

Unfortunately, Burke and Wills then headed out in the wrong direction and Burke perished. Imagine discovering the supplies at the ‘Dig Tree’ but not knowing where to go to next. You could focus on being an early pioneer and reflect on the new discoveries made in a very harsh, foreign landscape. You might flash back to your days in Ireland or England or times with your family and contrast this with the vast Australian landscape. 

The Endurance

The Endurance departed from South Georgia for the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, on 5 December 1914, despite warnings of dangerous pack ice en route.  During January and February of 1915, the ship became trapped in the ice. By October 1915, the ship was leaking badly and the men worked the pumps in shifts around the clock. The roar of pressure from the ice outside was almost constant. The pressure reached its height on 27 October 1915. The ship was pushed up and a floe moved across it destroying the rudder and the stern post. The decks began to break upwards, and as the keel was ripped out, the water poured in. Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship.

Imagine travelling to the Antarctica and the provocative discovery of the treacherous conditions. Hurley’s photograph captures the dire circumstances and the extreme cold. 

Macquarie Collector's Chest

The Macquarie chest (sometimes known as the Strathallan Chest) was created in 1818. It was intended for Governor Macquarie (Governor of New South Wales between 1810 and 1822). It returned to Scotland with Macquarie in 1822 where it remained in Strathallan Castle before being sold to a private collector.

The reasons for creating the chest, as well as the identities of the artists and craftsmen responsible, remain elusive. The chest was almost certainly intended as a special presentation piece to celebrate the colony of New South Wales. The chest is constructed of a combination of Australian rosewood found from the Hunter River to the Port Macquarie region of NSW, and red cedar found in NSW coastal regions from the Illawarra to the north. It opens to present a wonderful array of artefacts, specimens, painted panels, and compartments. The artwork on the chest depicts colonial Newcastle and the surrounding areas. It is thought to be the work of Joseph Lycett - a noted convict artist of the period who was sent to Newcastle because of being convicted of forgery. Lycett was patronised by both Macquarie and Captain James Wallis, Commandant of the secondary penal settlement at Newcastle, north of Sydney. 

This chest could inspire so many imaginative responses! Imagine someone in Scotland being shown the chest and its incredible contents that were so foreign to what he or she would be familiar with in Scotland. Maybe, you could compose a reflection by the Lycett who is thought to be the artist for the panels. Ask why he chose the images that he did to celebrate NSW and how he viewed this new landscape so different to his home in Staffordshire, England.

Task no. 3

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Responding to quotes

Compose a piece of imaginative writing that is centred on ONE of the following quotes from the texts in the practice Reading Task. You can create an original imaginative response that does not have to be connected to one of the texts.

Refer to the marking guidelines (available as a downloadable resource) as you complete the task. 

a. “In one of the trees these carved steps appeared so fresh and green as if it had not been four days since the same had been cut” (The Huijdecoper Journal).

b. “The soil is black and soft as bread” (Translation of the second of the Queirós’ Presentation memorials).