Teaching Stage 2 History: community and remembrance

Learning Activity
Schools & Teachers
Teacher Professional Learning

This resource was developed by Dr Jennifer Lawless, State Library of NSW Fellow 2016.


In Stage 2, Community and Remembrance provides a study of identity and diversity in both a local and broader context. Students explore the historical features and diversity of their community. They examine significant local, state and national symbols and emblems and celebrations and commemorations, both local and international. 

The following are teaching ideas for this stage that incorporate skills and concepts, with links to the State Library of NSW’s teaching and learning collection. The teaching ideas are not in any sequence. Teachers should choose those that are suitable for their class and integrate them into their program where relevant.

Syllabus links

  • Who lived here first and how do we know?
  • How has our community changed? What features have been lost and what features have been retained?
  • What is the nature of the contribution made by different groups and individuals in the community?
  • How and why do people choose to remember significant events of the past? 

HT-2-1: identifies celebrations and commemorations of significance in Australia and the world.

HT-2-2: describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time.

HT-2-5: applies skills of historical inquiry and communication.

Throughout the content, the relevant historical skills and concepts should be taught. The skills and concepts of Perspectives and Empathetic Understanding have been integrated.

Historical Skills: How Can We Integrate Them?

Comprehension: chronology, terms & concepts

  • Respond, read and write to show understanding of historical matters
  • Sequence familiar people and events
  • Use historical terms.


  • invite a local Aboriginal speaker to tell of the Aboriginal history of the local area. How do we know? What evidence is left?
  • sequence photographs of either their local area or early Sydney from the earliest to the most recent, based on evidence within the photo
  • justify their sequence referring to evidence within the photographs
  • complete sentences using historical terms such as colonial, in the olden days, in the past
  • complete a simple illustrated time-line of Australia’s past, the local area and/or Australia’s commemorative days.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:


Analysis and Use of Sources

  • Locate relevant information from sources provided


  • using three different sources (a painting, old newspaper account, letter, artifact, building or photograph) describe an historical event or place within the local area
  • examine the various State emblems and identify the various symbols within them. What is the overall meaning?
  • design an emblem representing their school or local area and explain the individual symbols represented.
  • examine various sources of information on ethnic groups in the local area and construct a pie graph or other visual representation of the local population.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:


Perspectives and Interpretations (Skill & Concept)

People from the past (or present) will have different views and experiences.

  • Identify different points of view within an historical context.


  • discuss how and why community groups may celebrate Australia Day differently.
  • listen to a local Aboriginal speaker about early Aboriginal life in the local area and their relationship to the land

Links to Library Learning Sequences:

Empathetic Understanding (Skill & Concept)

Students develop an understanding of another’s views, life and decisions made.

  • Explain how and why people in the past may have lived and behaved differently from today based on sources.


  • after listening to the Aboriginal guest speaker, students describe their relationship to the local area from an Aboriginal point of view.
  • choose an early settler in the local area and write a letter back to family in England describing their new home, work, fears and hopes. They may present their research as a role play.


  • Pose a range of questions about the past.
  • Plan an historical inquiry.


  • research the question ‘How do we know about our local area’? They locate three different sources and explain what they may tell us.
  • select an area of local life such as education, transport, housing and locate three sources that provide relevant information.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:

Explanation and Communication

  • Develop texts, particularly narratives.
  • Use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies.


  • construct a narrative on their chosen local area topic and present a brief overview either orally, graphically or written.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:

Historical Concepts: How Can We Integrate Them?

Continuity and Change

This concept refers to either change over time or how developments remained much the same.

  • Changes and continuities due to British colonisation of Australia.


  • examine a range of sources from the local area (paintings, photographs, Aboriginal sites, old buildings) and in two columns record changes in the local area and aspects that have remained the same.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:

Cause and effect

  • Students can develop an understanding of reasons why events or developments in the past produced later actions, results or effects.
  • Reasons for a particular historical development, eg journey of the First Fleet.


  • discuss the landing at Gallipoli or the arrival of the First Fleet and how and why these events have resulted in national holidays.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:


  • The importance of an event, development or individual/group.
  • The importance and meaning of national commemorations and celebrations and the importance of a person or event.  


  • in groups, students select a national day and present arguments for it to be recognized as the most important national holiday in Australia. Justify their choice.
  • research  a range of  prominent local people or an important development or change in the local area and choose the most ‘significant’ and justify their choice.

Links to Library Learning Sequences:

State Library of NSW Learning Sequences and Resources

Billy Blue

Students learn about identity and diversity in both a local and broader context.


Sydney: a Story of Change

Students learn about identity and diversity in both a local and broader context.


Who Was Quong Tart?

Students learn about identity and diversity through the life and times of Quong Tart.


The World of Mickey of Ulladulla

Students learn about identity and diversity in both a local and broader context.