First Contacts

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

STEMLinc Video Conferencing: Connect live with a museum educator and learn about first contacts between Aboriginal peoples and colonists that arrived as part of the First Fleet and aboard other ships in the early years of the colony of New South Wales.  Students will examine a range of historical sources including artworks and Aboriginal cultural technology objects and explore the impact of these new arrivals on the Aboriginal peoples of Sydney and the local environment.  This video conference is presented in collaboration with Sydney Living Museums. (Note: ZOOM platform only)
(Image: Invasion I: an oil painting on Belgian linen stretched on frame. It depicts the arrival of a boat of redcoat soldiers at Port Jackson from an Aboriginal perspective. Museum of Sydney Collection, Sydney Living Museums. © Gordon Syron)

Year Levels: 3 – 4

Duration: 45 minutes

STEM in a box:

No, but a follow-up activity is provided:  First Contacts Design Activity

Background Information: 

Aboriginal people formed one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world.  Adapting to our country’s challenging conditions is a testament to Aussie inventiveness.  The diversity can be seen in the wide range of technology Aboriginal people used. But like all good inventions, these were simple, elegant solutions, and made from materials close at hand. Many of these inventions reveal a deep understanding of science and medicine.

Prior Knowledge:

No prior knowledge is required.

Learning Intentions:

In this program students will:

  • Learn about first contacts between Aboriginal peoples and colonists that arrived as part of the First Fleet
  • Explore a range of technological artefacts that were used by Aboriginal peoples
  • Evaluate the basic environmental impacts colonisation had on settled areas


In this video conference students will:

  • examine art and artefacts and hear about the environmental impacts of settlement from a range of perspectives.
  • be introduced to some relevant indigenous language
  • have the opportunity to interact with the presenter live from the Sydney Living Museum

Victorian Curriculum:

History – Historical concepts and skills

Continuity and Change

  • Identify and compare features of objects used by the family from the past and present (VCHHC043)

Cause and effect

  • Identify and explain the causes and effects of European settlement and exploration (VCHHC070)

Community, remembrance  and celebrations

  • The significance of Country and Place to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who belong to a local area (VCHHK072)

First Contacts

  • The diversity and longevity of Australia’s first peoples and the significant ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are connected to Country and Place (land, sea, waterways and skies) and the effects on their daily lives (VCHHK078)
  • The nature of contact between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions (VCHHK081)

For Booking:

  • Can be negotiated Tuesday to Fridays during Term. Please contact Naomi:
  • A minimum of 3 classrooms or 75 students applies.   Classrooms enquiries may be combined from of different schools to make us the minimum.


Date and TimeTicket availableBooking link