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European exploration and colonisation in Australia - Stage 2: Teaching Resources

This guide has been created to support the teaching of Year 4 History.

State Library: Learning Activities

Through this comprehensive set of learning activites from the State Library of NSWtudents investigate the ways in which the Europeans interacted with the Gweagal people of Kamay (Botany Bay) during their eight day stay. The nature of this contact will be interrogated from both perspectives, as students are introduced to aspects of the Gweagal people’s way of life.

The two essential questions for this learning sequence are:

1 What was life like for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples before the arrival of the Europeans?

2. What was the nature and consequence of contact between Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander peoples and early traders, explorers and settlers?

Bruce Pascoe

ABC Education has many resources featuring or written by Bruce Pascoe. These resources are useful in examining the impact of exploration and coloniation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Click on the link to browse a curated list of these resources. Be sure to look for those that indicate they are most appropriate for Year 4 as some resources are more suitable to older students.

State Library: First Fleet Learning Sequence

Through this comprehensive lesson sequence students learn about European exploration and colonisation in Australia and throughout the world up to the early 1800s. They examine the impact of exploration on other societies, how these societies interacted with newcomers, and how these experiences contributed to their cultural diversity.

Essential question - Why did the great journeys of exploration occur?

Students use images and written sources to ask historical questions about the past.

  • The activities are designed to introduce students to images and written sources as historical records of people, places and events in the past.
  • Students examine images and written sources from the State Library of NSW to investigate the journey of the First Fleet to Botany Bay, Port Jackson and Sydney Cove.


The writers and publishers of kidcyber are Shirley Sydenham, a primary/elementary school teacher, and Ron Thomas, a primary teacher-librarian. They are authors (together, individually and with others) of numerous books for teachers and kids, published in Australia and overseas.

This page Discovery of Australia includes information about:

  • Australia's long indigenous history
  • the first Europeans to discover Australia
  • James Cook and the mapping of Australia
  • early explorers


ABC Education

ABC Education has a wide range of resources to support the teaching of Exploration in Australia. This link will take you to a list of resources from ABC Education that have been selected to suit Year 4 and 5 classes.

ABC Education Digibook - Mapping Australia

This collection focuses on the European mapping and naming of the Australian continent during the 17th and 18th centuries. It highlights the motivations and achievements of Dutch and British explorers, including Abel Tasman and James Cook. It incorporates maps, texts, and a painting.