Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will complete a study of secondary sources about the ways in which Aboriginal people interacted with Tasmania’s river systems in past times. They will learn how to differentiate between primary and secondary sources, and will learn how primary sources provide us with clues about the past.

Activity developed in partnership with   tasmania_hydro_200x84_300pxl

Hydro Tasmania has been at the forefront of clean energy innovation for one hundred years. It is Australia’s largest producer of clean energy – generating hydro and wind power – and the largest water manager. Hydro Tasmania has 55 major dams, operates 30 hydropower stations and has built some of Australia’s largest wind farms.

Hydro Tasmania also sells energy in the National Electricity Market through its retail business Momentum Energy, and sells its expertise internationally through its consulting business Entura. Visit the Hydro Tasmania website to learn how the business is working towards Australia’s clean energy future.

Learning goals:

  • Students begin thinking about different types of historical sources and ways they can interpret primary source material to better understand secondary sources.
  • Students understand the importance and value of sustainable energy methods.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures OI.5, OI.6.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 7 History

  • The range of sources that can be used in an historical investigation, including archaeological and written sources (ACDSEH029)
  • The nature of the sources for ancient Australia and what they reveal about Australia’s past in the ancient period, such as the use of resources (ACDSEH031)

Year 8 History

  • Identify the origin and purpose of primary and secondary sources (ACHHS152)
  • Locate, compare, select and use information from a range of sources as evidence (ACHHS153)
  • Draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources (ACHHS154)

Syllabus outcomes: HT4-1, HT4-5, HT4-6, HT4-9, HT4-10

Topic: Hydro Tasmania, Energy.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity.

Resources required: Internet access, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for homework and extension.

Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, river, history.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

story-murray-river2-heroTeacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: This lesson is designed to get students thinking about different types of historical sources and ways they can interpret primary source material to better understand secondary sources.

Teacher background information: Energy is the lifeblood of our modern life. It gives us light and keeps our food fresh. It powers our industry, fuels our cars, and charges our iPhones. Our energy is produced by burning fossil fuels and this has a range of environmental, social and economic impacts. One of the most significant is the emission of greenhouse gases. A solution is the transition to clean energy sources. The brilliant thing is that we have huge amounts of free, renewable and clean supplies of natural energies. These include sunlight, wind, running water, oceans and underground hot rocks.

According to the Clean Energy Australia Report 2013:

  • 14.76% of Australia's electricity came from renewable sources in 2013; enough to power the equivalent
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is the biggest river in Tasmania?

In this lesson, you will complete a study about some ancient practices of Aboriginal peoples who lived around the rivers of Tasmania and other states and territories of Australia.

Using Historical Sources

Historians can examine primary and secondary sources of information to help them understand the lifestyles and practices of people of past times. There are many historical sources available to us that demonstrate the intimate connections that Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples have had with river ecosystems for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence suggests that many groups of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples living along rivers in times past were settled in a kind of village life. This challenges the idea that they were all semi-nomadic. By looking at historical sources, we can gain useful information that sometimes contradicts our previously held ideas about people of the past and their lifestyles.

Primary S

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