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Reading the tall tale

Stimulus: #1: 
The Wonderful Large Wild Man (ca 1790s), unknown author

Student activities

Task no. 1

Discussion

Background notes for students 

The Wonderful Large Wild Man, which can be seen below, is a broadside that features a long narrative about the capture of the giant creature, by the crew of the Ship Rover, under Captain Lee. The text of the story is printed beneath two wood block pictures. The broadside claims the Rover landed at the port of Plymouth in England on 29 November 1789. 

However, there is no evidence that a ship called the Rover ever travelled to Australia so this may just be a sensational story that was designed to sell broadsides to people eager to hear strange and wonderful stories about the very recent colonisation of Australia by Europeans. 

 

Tall tales are stories that are heavily exaggerated but may have some basis in fact which can make them seem believable. Discuss the following questions: 

  • Do you know any tall tales? 
  • Is the story of The Wonderful Large Wild Man a tall tale? 
A Description of a wonderful large wild man, or monstrous giant, brought from Botany-Bay, ca 1789
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Task no. 2

Imaginative writing

Imagine you live in England in the 1790s and you have just read the broadside The Wonderful Large Wild Man, which you can see below. Record your thoughts and feelings about this story. Think about the following: 

  • Do you believe the story? Why or why not?  
  • What do you think about the ‘Great southern land’?  
  • Do you believe that strange creatures like the one in the broadside, or in the tales of sailors exist in the world? 
A Description of a wonderful large wild man, or monstrous giant, brought from Botany-Bay, ca 1789
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