Family treasures

Students examine photographs from a range of Australian families, consider how their own family preserves stories and memories and discuss how life was different in the past.
Key inquiry question #1: 
What is my history and how do I know?
Key inquiry question #2: 
What stories do other people tell about the past?
Key inquiry question #3: 
How can stories of the past be told and shared?

Learning Intention

We are learning to:

  • Use photographs and artefacts to learn about the past

Success criteria

What I’m looking for:

  • I can identify information about the past by using a photograph or artefact

Student Activities

Family treasures

Explore special treasures from Australian families in the past. 

Number of set tasks: 3


A student:

  • HTe-1 communicates stories of their own family heritage and the heritage of others 
  • HTe-2 demonstrates developing skills of historical inquiry and communication


Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • distinguish between the past, present and future (ACHHS016)

Use of sources

  • explore and use a range of sources about the past (ACHHS018)
  • identify and compare features of objects from the past and present (ACHHS019)

Explanation and communication

  • develop a narrative about the past (ACHHS021)
  • use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies (ACHHS022)

Continuity and change

  • some things change over time and others remain the same

Empathetic understanding

  • developing an understanding of another’s views, life and decisions made

Learning across the curriculum

  • Literacy

How the stories of families and the past can be communicated, for example through photographs, artefacts, books, oral histories, digital media, and museums (ACHHK004)


  • pose questions about another's object or photograph
  • discuss then and now; past and present

Background notes for teachers

This activity is designed to introduce students to photos as historical records of people, places and events in the past. Students examine photos from the State Library of NSW to find out about what family life was like in the past. They compare family life in the past to family life in the present by considering that some things change over time and some things stay the same.

Additional resources 

Further information about Quong Tart can be found on the State Library website.  

The entire magazine article about the Spicer family can be found on Trove: Pix, Vol. 19 No. 24 (14 June 1938) (pp. 9-12)