First Contacts

First Contacts is delivered in Barangaroo Reserve and The Rocks. This one-day History program focuses on the first contacts between Gadigal Aboriginal people and European colonists. Students will visit Barangaroo Reserve to learn about traditional Aboriginal culture and visit places in Millers Point and The Rocks to learn about European colonial settlement.

The program has three main components:

  1. Introductory activities and resources to introduce the students to the program
  2. A whole day fieldwork experience in Barangaroo Reserve, Millers Point and The Rocks
  3. Follow up activities to enhance History skills

During the fieldwork day, students will:

  • Visit Barangaroo Reserve to investigate traditional Aboriginal culture and the history of the area.
  • Visit Parbury Ruins, a nearby archaeological site and former home of a convict, to learn about colonial Sydney and the life of convicts.
  • Visit The Rocks Discovery Museum to view artefacts associated with the local Gadigal Aboriginal people, and early colonists.

This program supports the Stage 2 History Syllabus in the areas of:

  • First Contacts HT2 – 3,4,5,

And the cross curriculum content of:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures and Histories
  • Sustainability

The program will allow students to:

  • Describe people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects.
  • Describe and explain effects of British colonisation in Australia
  • Apply skills of historical inquiry and communication
Risk Assessment Pro Forma – Barangaroo Stage 2

Summary of Learning Sites, Activities and Student Outcomes

Learning Site Activity Students will be able to: Fieldwork in Action
Pre visit activities Students watch a film clip to investigate the life of Barangaroo pre settlement
  • Develop an understanding and empathy with Aboriginal people and culture
Barangaroo Reserve 1. Gadigal Aboriginals

  • Students use historical source materials to see how the area has changed over time.
  • Listening to an interactive story to develop an empathetic attitude towards Aboriginal perspectives of First Contact.
  • Identifying native plants and their traditional Aboriginal uses
  • Making an artefact from natural materials
  • Describe people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects.
  • Apply skills of historical inquiry and communication.
 Millers point
Parbury Ruins 2. Parbury Ruins – Convict Period Circa 1820

  • Explore Parbury Ruins and hear a story about Thomas Street, a convict who lived in the ruined house. Students will investigate archaeological artefacts found on this site and complete an activity to match mystery colonial artefacts to their uses.





  • Use a range of sources to to investigate the everyday life of a convict in the early colony of NSW
  • Describes people, events and actions related to world exploration and its effects
Rocks Discovery Museum 3. The Rocks Discovery Museum

  • Visit the Rocks Discovery Museum and view artefacts from Gadigal Aboriginals and First Fleet Convicts
  • Explore and use a range of sources about the past
  • Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present
  • Locate relevant information from sources provided
 Discovery Museum

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