Activity Introduction

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Welcome to Cool Australia’s info pack for the documentary 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 2 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. 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 2, the pearling boom brings thousands of strangers to the region and has a profound economic and cultural impact on the Torres Strait. Missionaries introduce Christianity, which influences the spiritual lives of many Torres Strait Islanders, affecting traditional language, dance and tradition. Finally, we are introduced to the role of Torres Strait Islanders in serving Australia in World War 2.

The second episode of Blue Water Empire is available to watch here.

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: GE4-1, GE4-4, GE4-6, HT5-2, HT5-3, C4.2, C4.3, C4.4, EN5-8D.

Suggested general capabilities: Intercultural Understanding, Ethical Understanding, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Suggested cross-curriculum priority:

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, religion, Christianity, community, spirituality, Europeans, pearl trade, World War 2.

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.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

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About this info pack:

In this info pack, you will find information about how Episode 2 of Blue Water Empire could be used as the foundation for a lesson in your classroom. We have suggested some areas where you could align this documentary with the curriculum (here), but ultimately it's up to you! 

The info pack contains 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. You will also find additional links to help you plan your classroom activities, as well as tips on setting classroom guidelines to ensure a supportive classroom environment during your investigation of this fascinating topic.

Information about the Blue Water Empire series:

Blue Water Empire is a 3-part dramatised-documentary series, giving a unique insight into the history of the Torres Strait Islands. Traversing the pre-colonial era through to contemporary

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