This short unit is based on the Year 5 Australian Curriculum HASS Inquiry Skills, Knowledge and Understandings for History. This unit covers the history up to Federation, including early First Nations history, Cook, the First Fleet, early colony and convict life, the frontier wars, the gold rush, bushrangers, and the Eureka Stockade.

This unit attempts to give a balanced view of Australian history by including primary source materials that discuss the treatment and mistreatment of First Nations and non-European migrants entering Australia during this period.

Several activities have been included in the unit, and it is at your discretion what you include to extend the learning, or skip for time.

4 x 1 hour lessons
Cross curriculum
21x resources/worksheets
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Australian Curriculum - (QLD/SA/WA/NT/TAS/ACT)


The impact of the development of British colonies in Australia on the lives of First Nations Australians, the colonists and convicts, and on the natural environment


The role of a significant individual or group, including First Nations Australians and those who migrated to Australia, in the development of events in an Australian colony


Evaluate information and data in a range of formats to identify and describe patterns and trends, or to infer relationships


Develop evidence-based conclusions


Present descriptions and explanations, drawing ideas, findings and viewpoints from sources, and using relevant terms and conventions


Locate, collect and organise information and data from primary and secondary sources in a range of formats


The economic, political and social causes of the establishment of British colonies in Australia after 1800


Develop questions to investigate people, events, developments, places and systems


Evaluate primary and secondary sources to determine origin, purpose and perspectives


The key concepts in this unit include:

  • First Nations people have lived in Australia for tens of thousands of years and are the oldest living cultural history in the world.
  • Economic, social, and political pressures forced the British empire to deal with unemployment, poverty and crime problems by establishing a penal colony in Australia.
  • The First Fleet established a British colony in Sydney Cove in 1788.
  • As the colonies expanded and settlers moved further away, First Nations people suffered. Through disease, fighting, and displacement, many lives were lost.
  • With the discovery of gold in 1851, there was a new influx of migrants and the formation of an Australian identity,
Learning Intention
  • We are learning to understand the nature of convict or colonial presence, including the factors that influenced patterns of development, aspects of the daily life of the inhabitants (including First Nations Australians) and how the environment changed.
  • We are learning to understand the role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony.
  • We are learning to understand the reasons (economic, political and social) for the establishment of British colonies in Australia after 1800.
Linked Resources & Activities
Linked Worksheets