Welcome to Cool Australia’s info pack for the documentary series Blue Water Empire. This info pack will give you the resources to build a lesson around the history of Torres Strait Islanders.
By offering this content as an info pack, we keep things open for your needs as a teacher. You can take the content in almost any direction! If you’d like to see how you could align this content with the Australian curriculum, we’ve offered some starters — you can access our suggestions here.
In this info pack, you will find further information about how Episode 1 of Blue Water Empire might be used in your classroom, along with our suggested ACARA curriculum links. There is background information about the Torres Strait Islander people and their country to support you in viewing this episode and exploring the topics featured in this episode with your students.
Quick summary: Blue Water Empire is a 3-part dramatised-documentary series, giving a unique insight into the history of the Torres Strait Islands. This episode, Episode 1, provides an introduction to the Torres Straits, and a fascinating exploration of the concepts that shaped Torres Strait Islander culture and custom before white settlement. Viewers are given the opportunity to explore aspects of Torres Strait Islander culture, such as language, connection to country, spirituality, and family and community. The arrival and impact of the first European explorers is also presented, with particular focus on the effects of European influence on trade and spirituality.
NOTE: This series has been given an M rating. You will need to follow your school protocols for screening an M film when viewing this series. This episode contains some brief scenes of violence that may upset some younger viewers; consider briefing students about the inclusion and content of these scenes before viewing with the class.
Suggested Australian curriculum mapping: Click here for a full list of ACARA curriculum links for this lesson (Years 7 to 10)
Suggested syllabus outcomes: EN5-8D, GE4-1, GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5, GE4-6, GE5-4, GE5-5, SC4-12ES, SC4-17CW.
Suggested general capabilities: Intercultural Understanding, Ethical Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking.
Suggested cross-curriculum priority:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures: OI.1, OI.2, OI.3, OI.4, OI.5, OI.6, OI.7, OI.8, OI.9.
- Sustainability: OI.2, OI.7, OI.8, OI.9.
Topic: Indigenous Education.
Unit of work: Blue Water Empire – Years 7 to 10.
Level of teacher scaffolding: The information presented can help support you to create your own classroom learning experiences. We suggest Y4-10, but it could be used virtually anywhere across the curriculum.
Resources required: Device capable of presenting a website to the class.
Keywords: Blue Water Empire, Torres Strait, Torres Strait Islander people, culture, country, family, community, spirituality, language, Europeans.
Cool Australia and Bunya Productions would like to acknowledge the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Screen Queensland and The Indigenous Department of Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.