Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

On 'tick'

[Episode 10 | 1918 : Bertie]

Bertie is trying to pay off the last shilling owing on his present for his brother Eddie who is returning home after serving in the First World War. Mr Watson, the store owner, will not advance him a loan. Bertie goes to the repatriation hospital to bring his mother (a nurse) fresh goat's milk, and shares jokes with his friends Sid and Mr Bracey who are both returned soldiers.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [3]

Activity 1: First World War
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Historical events

For Australia, the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of casualties and deaths. In 1914 the population of Australia was much smaller than that of Great Britain or European countries such as France and Germany. Of the 416,809 men who enlisted to fight 60,000 were killed and 156,000 were wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. Discuss these statistics with students and discover more about Australia's commitment to the war effort by visiting the Australian War Memorial, http://www.awm.gov.au

  • The impact and legacy of the First World War (1914–18): facts check. Students can work in pairs or small groups to find out more about why Australians fought in the war and the extent of their participation. They will need to research and note down at least ten related statistics and represent these facts visually in a chart or graph. The charts and graphs could include statistics on the following:
  1. the countries who were the 'allies' and those who were the 'enemy'
  2. ages of Australian servicemen sent to war
  3. number and percentage of 'conscripted' compared to 'enlisted' servicemen
  4. servicemen who returned as amputees compared to those with other injuries
  5. number and percentage of Australian combat deaths compared to other countries involved in the conflict
  6. number of medals awarded to soldiers for bravery, and the different types of medals given
  7. names and accomplishments of First World War Victoria Cross recipients
  8. number of women who served as nurses or in other roles
  9. approximate number of Indigenous servicemen.

  • Students choose one statistic they have collected from researching the items above and convert it into a separate graph or chart. Each student in the class should have a different item. These charts are then bound together to make a statistical record book of Australia during the First World War.


Activity 2: Casualties of War
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war

During the First World War the enormous number of patients with serious injuries, often requiring amputations, led to major advances in the area of orthopaedics and in the technology of prosthetic limbs.


Teachers should consider whether the following activities are appropriate for their classes.

  • Find out the major causes of injuries in the war, including the causes for the loss of limbs and eyes. Have the types of weapons and conditions of war changed the type of injuries inflicted in wars today? How do you know this?

  • Students choose from the following topics to compile a mini project on an A3 poster.
  1. Weapons and exploding devices caused horrendous injuries and loss of life in the First World War. Research information about the weaponry used by both sides.
  2. Many prosthetic limbs were needed during the First World War but who made them? Find out more about the doctors and specialist technicians in Australia at this time.
  3. Returned soldiers were repatriated in hospitals and makeshift care facilities when they returned from war. Find out more about where these hospitals were and how they assisted returned injured servicemen. Who staffed the hospitals?
  4. What institution was set up to support the returned soldier?
  5. How did Australia recompense returned servicemen for their commitment to the war effort?
  6. How were Indigenous people treated by the government when they returned from the war?
  • Visit these websites:
  1. Returned and Services League of Australia, http://www.rsl.org.au
  2. Australian War Memorial, 'The ANZAC Day tradition', http://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac/anzac_tradition.asp
  3. Screen Australia, http://www.filmaust.com.au/monash (This website is aimed at secondary and tertiary users.)


Activity 3: Wartime currency
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Currency

The Museum of Australian Currency Notes website includes information on currency in Australia from 1901 to the present. View the website with your class and discuss the changes in design and artwork of the notes. Examine carefully the different timelines on the website, taking particular note of developments during the First World War. Discuss the characteristics and special features of coins and notes and consider why old coins and notes are so collectable today.

Museum of Australian Currency Notes, http://www.rba.gov.au/Museum/Timeline/1901_1920.html (Select 'Displays' for designs of Australian notes.)

  • Ask students to look closely at the designs and artwork on notes between 1901 and 1920. The pictures are downloadable from the Museum of Australian Currency Notes website. Have students choose one note and create a factual mind map outlining the important characteristics and special features of the note. Students should focus on the following:
  1. Why were emblems used?
  2. Why were serial numbers used?
  3. What types of markings were used to make the notes distinctly Australian?
  4. Why do the notes depict important people or events?
  5. How collectable is the note today?

  • Students should design their own note for the 1910–1919 era, depicting something or someone significant from the time.


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