Year 9 History – Making a Nation (CC BY)

Subject overview

This unit provides opportunities for students to develop historical understandings focused on evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance, and contestability.

Unit overview

The year 9 curriculum provides a study of history called “Making of the Modern World from 1750 to 1918”. World and Australian history, the analysis and use of sources, and historical interpretation.

Core concepts and ideas

The subject of History in the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area also provides for deeper engagement with abstract thought; students are encouraged to question established conventions, practices and values and consider possible outcomes and consequences of actions using logic. Exploration of social and environmental issues widens to local, national, regional and global contexts and a focus on investigative methods promotes the making and systematic testing of simple hypotheses about phenomena, issues and challenges. As they reflect on their own and others’ actions, values and attitudes, students develop and apply ethical thinking skills to real and proposed decisions and actions.

The content provides opportunities to develop historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability. These concepts may be investigated within a particular historical context to facilitate an understanding of the past and to provide a focus for historical inquiries.

The history content at this year level involves two strands: historical knowledge and understanding, and historical skills. These strands are interrelated and have been developed to be taught in an integrated way, and in ways that are appropriate to specific local contexts. The order and detail in which they are taught are programming decisions. (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA], n.d).

Curriculum links

This resource is aligned with Australian Curriculum version 8.4 and Australian Curriculum version 9.0. This resource is aligned with Australian Curriculum Cross-Curriculum Priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.

Content descriptions

ACARA Version 8.4
ACDSEH020 The extension of settlement, including the effects of contact (intended and unintended) between European settlers in Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
ACDSEH089 Experiences of non-Europeans in Australia prior to the 1900s (such as the Japanese, Chinese, South Sea Islanders, Afghans)
ACDSEH090 Living and working conditions in Australia around the turn of the twentieth century (that is 1900)
ACDSEH091 Key people, events and ideas in the development of Australian self-government and democracy, including, the role of founders, key features of constitutional development, the importance of British and Western influences in the formation of Australia’s system of government and women’s voting rights
ACDSEH092 Laws made by federal Parliament between 1901-1914 including the Harvester Judgement, pensions, and the Immigration Restriction Act
ACARA Version 9.0 
AC9HHK01 The causes and effects of European imperial expansion and the movement of peoples in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and the different responses to colonisation and migration
The key social, cultural, economic and political changes and their significance in the development of Australian society during the period
AC9HHK03 The causes and effects of European contact and extension of settlement, including their impact on the First Nations Peoples of Australia
Significant events, ideas, people, groups and movements in the development of Australian society
AC9HHK05 Continuities and changes and their effects on ways of life and living conditions, political and legal institutions, and cultural expression around the turn of the 20th century in Australian society
AC9HHK06 Different experiences and perspectives of colonisers, settlers and First Nations Australians and the impact of these experiences on changes to Australian society’s ideas, beliefs and values
AC9HHK07 The development of Australian society in relation to other nations in the world by 1914, including the effects of ideas and movements of people

General capabilities

general capabilities icons ethical understanding intercultural understanding critical and creative thinking personal and social capability
Source: ACARA General Capabilities (2022)

Cross-curricular priorities

diagram showing circles and the relationship of cross curricular priorities for people, culture and country/place in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture
Source: ACARA General Capabilities (2022)

Teaching Notes


10 week term- 2 lessons a week


  • Internet connection to view resources
  • Printer for class copies of worksheets
  • Devices to connect to internet for research

Lesson Plan


Lesson Plan



Contact and conflict between European settlers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a result of the extent of colonisation.


Investigation: Settling into Australia through the Blue MountainsDefine:

  • Martial law
  • Colonisation


  1. Why was it important for the European settlers to expand beyond Port Jackson?
  2. What impact did the expedition of Blaxland, Wentworth, Lawson have on Aboriginal people?
  3. What were the hardships the settlers would have encountered in Australia in 1813?
  4. What were some of the problems caused by the grant of land to settlers for both settlers and Aboriginal people?
  5. How did the local Wiradjuri people initially react to the arrival of the settlers?
  6. How did they respond to the invasion of their lands?


  1. Case Study:  the Massacre at Myall Creek. Fill out the Activity Sheet on the National Museum website.
  2. Write a first-person diary account of crossing the Blue Mountains. Use this image as inspiration.

National Museum Australia. (n.d). Defining Moments:
Blue Mountains Crossing.


National Museum Australia. (n.d). Australia’s Defining
Moments: 1838 Massacre at
Myall Creek.


SBS The Feed.(2018). Reconciling Murder: The Myall Creek Massacre. [Video]. YouTube.



Experiences of non-Europeans in Australia during the nineteenth century


Investigation: Strangers in a Strange Land (4 lessons)

Topic 1: South Sea Islanders


  • Indentured labour
  • Sugar industry
  • The Pacific Islanders Labourers Act (1901)


  •  “Blackbirded” (kidnapped)


  1. Why were South Sea Islanders brought to Australia?
  2. How were they treated?
  3. What ended the practice of using South Sea Islanders as labourers?
  4. What did this lead to?
  5. What did the Queensland Government do in 2000 that was important to South Sea Islanders?


Topic 2:  Chinese Migrants


  • Gold rush


  • Gold rush locations- Ophir, Ballarat, Bendigo Creek
  • Edward Hargraves
  • Victorian gold rush
  • Migration boom


  1. How did the gold rush begin in Australia?
  2. Watch the video Defining Moments: Gold Rush
  3. Watch the video by Victorian Collections.
  4. View the cartoon by Phil May, The Mongolian Octopus- Its grip on Australia, published in The Bulletin on 21 August 1886. Discuss the meaning of the cartoon. What is the octopus a metaphor for?
  5. 1901- ‘White Australia’ was established. Write a response to this question: What beliefs motivated lawmakers to write and pass these laws restricting the immigration of non-Europeans to Australia?
  6. Divide the class into small groups-  choose a topic to research – South Sea Islanders, Chinese Migrants or the Phil May cartoon and write a paragraph about your chosen topic and how it relates to human rights.

National Museum Australia. (n.d). Defining Moments: Island labourers.

Victorian Collections.(2017).Victorian Collections. (2017). Many Roads: Stories of the Chinese on the Goldfields of Victoria. [Video]. YouTube.

Sydney Living Museums.(n.d). Chinese on the Goldfields.

National Library of Australia.(2019). Australia for the White Man.

National Museum of Australia. (2018). Defining Moments: Gold Rush.[Video]. YouTube.


Living and working conditions in Australia during the nineteenth century


Investigation: Ordinary Lives

“Most people in Australian history have been ordinary people- not famous, not achieving any nation-changing result from their lives, and not remembered in history books.” (National Museum Australia, [NMA], n.d).



  • What were their daily lives like?
  • How did their lives change as a result of important events and decisions in Australia?

Research Project: Individual. Choose a topic from:

  • Victorian Employers’ Union
  • Australian Labor Party forms
  • Bubonic Plague

Write a diary entry for one of these groups/sufferers of bubonic plague.

  • Victorian Employers’ Union. Use this image for inspiration.
  • Australian Labor Party forms. Use this image for inspiration.
  • Bubonic Plague. Use this image for inspiration.



National Museum Australia. (n.d). Defining Moments: Ordinary Lives.


National Museum Australia. (n.d). Defining Moments: Bubonic Plague.


National Museum Australia. (n.d). Defining Moments: Victorian Employer’s Union.


Key people, events and ideas in the development of Australian democracy


Investigation: Making a Democracy- Eureka Stockade

Students will learn about the impact of the Eureka Stockade on Australian Democracy.

  • Watch the video on the Eureka Stockade.
  • Complete the discussion questions and primary and secondary sources activity using the ABC Behind the News worksheet.
  • Develop a biography of Peter Lalor or another significant individual that has helped shaped Australia’s history in the 1850’s. What sort of information is included in a biography? (BTN, 2013).
  • Imagine you are the editor of the Ballarat Times. Create the front page of your newspaper for the 4th of December 1854. What would it say? (BTN, 2013)
  • Using the My Place website- construct a timeline leading up to the Eureka Stockade.

Investigation: Women’s Suffrage

  • Watch the short video on Women’s suffrage

Questions to discuss:

  1. What does ‘suffrage’ mean?
  2. When did the women’s suffrage movement take place in Australia?
  3. What kind of actions did suffragettes and their supporters take to influence public opinion on the issue?
  4. What was the outcome?
  5. In what year were women granted the right to vote in Australia?
  6. Was every Australian woman granted the right to vote at the same time?
  7. When were Indigenous Australians granted the right to vote? (National Library of Australia, n.d)



The Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Eureka Centre Ballarat. (n.d). Eureka Education Kit. Victorian Government. 

National Museum of Australia.(2018). Defining Moments: Eureka Stockade [Video]. YouTube.

Behind the News. Eureka Stockade. (2013). Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

National Museum of Australia.(2018). Defining Moments: Women’s suffrage [Video]. YouTube.



Major social legislation was made by the federal parliament between 1901 and 1914.


Investigation: Federation


  • Federation
  • Immigration Restriction Act
  • Australian Women Vote
  • The Harvester Judgment


  • The reasons for Federation


  1. Look at the image “Combine Australia”
  2. What does the image convey about Federation?
  3. Divide the class into 6 groups. Each group will represent a different colony.
  4. Complete the activity “Create a new Federation
  5. Optional activity- “Hold a referendum

Federal Register of Legislation. (1901).  Immigration Restriction Act. Australian Government.

National Museum of Australia. (2018). Defining Moments: Women’s suffrage. [Video]. YouTube.

Parliamentary Education Office. (n.d). Create a new Federation.

Parliamentary Education Office. (n.d). The Federation of Australia.

Fair Work Commission. (n.d). Harvester case


Rationale: The purpose of this assessment is to assess students’ abilities to research, collect, analyse and draw conclusions about historical sources. Students develop a hypothesis or position about the significance of one of these events and develop a written response with appropriate references.

Making a Nation – Research task

Topics may include:

  • European Settlement and expansion in Australia and the impact on Indigenous peoples (eg. Myall Creek Massacre).
  • The Chinese on the goldfields.
  • The Kanakas on the Sugarcane fields.

Assessment example

Key Inquiry Question
To what extent was Pemulwuy successful in resisting the colonisation of Europeans during 1792-1802?
Sub Questions 
  1. How might the Europeans have perceived Pemulwuy?
  2. What might have motivated Indigenous Australians to assist Pemulwuy in resisting the colonisation of Europeans?
  3. Why might Pemulwuy have been referred to as a strong and independent character by Governor King?

Exemplar – Literary Source

Exemplar – Picture

High Level Student Response: 

Making a Nation Assessment- Student High Level Response Research Investigation

Making a Nation Assessment- Student High Level Response Essay

TEEL structure

Topic Sentence (State) Introduces the main idea of the paragraph and links to the question.
Elaboration (Explain) Subsequent sentence on the main idea. Provide more information about the factor you identified in the topic sentence.
Example (How?) Provide examples and evidence to support your idea/argument. Provide some examples of the contributing factor. Describe your example- how does it link to the topic? You MUST incorporate evidence and refer to sources.
Link (Reinforce) Link the elaboration, evidence, and analysis back to the topic sentence/question. Sum up the main ideas of the paragraph.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Year 9 History - Making a Nation (CC BY) Copyright © by James Cook University Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.