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

The Funeral

[Episode 9 | 1928 : Bridie]

It is the day of Lorna's funeral and the procession to the cemetery is commencing. It is a tradition to celebrate the life of the deceased person by holding a 'wake'. During this sombre celebration, Bridie tries to console her sister with the help of Miss Miller.


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 [2]

Activity 1: Mourning
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Customs and traditions

The death of a friend or family member is a difficult issue to deal with at any age. It must be especially hard when the tragedy is caused by an avoidable accident. Bridie and her sister blame themselves for the death of their friend Lorna and find it difficult to cope with the grief. The funeral is an important event in helping the characters to deal with their loss and sense of guilt.

  • Funerals are a way of bringing family and friends together to celebrate the life of a loved one who has passed away. Discuss the emotions of the friends and family members at Lorna's funeral.

  • If deemed appropriate by the teacher, students could research the rituals and ceremonial traditions associated with funerals and burials in different cultures. Students choose from a list of countries/cultures nominated by the class. These could reflect the heritage of students in the class. Students present their research as a web page or chart.


Activity 2: The hearse
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Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Transport

This clip shows a very simple horse-and-cart hearse used to carry Lorna's coffin from her house to the cemetery. In 1928 working-class people could not afford to have a motorised vehicle. View the different historical examples of hearses used in Australia.

  1. Way to Go – History of the Hearse, http://www.postcards.sa.com.au/features/history_hearse.html
  2. Classic and Vintage Funeral Coaches, http://www.funeralcoaches.com.au/history-of-australian-hearses.html

If deemed appropriate by the teacher view the clip, 'The funeral', again and have the class discuss the questions below. Use the template from the Student Activity Sheet H9.5 to help students focus on the correct elements when watching the clip.

  1. What style of coffin is Lorna interred in?
  2. What material is the coffin made from?
  3. Why are flowers placed on the top?
  4. Who marches in the funeral procession? 
  5. What order are they in and why?
  6. What is the significance of the 'Irish wake', occurring after the burial?
  7. Why do people dress in black?


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