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School: Past & Present: Videos

In the past: Christmas at a bush school


Discover how school children in the Australian bush celebrated Christmas more than 50 years ago. This silent clip shows school children putting on a Nativity play - a play that tells the Bible story of Jesus's birth. The students then have a Christmas party. The black-and-white footage was filmed near Parkes in 1961.

Twinkle, twinkle, little ducks


A class of children join in a singing lesson on their first day of school in 1974. Watch and see how school has changed, and stayed the same, over time.

1890s Exercise Book


View some of the school work that NSW primary students completed in their exercise books in the 1890s.

School in the 1940s


Imagine going to school in the 'olden days' (the 1940s). Find out what morning assembly looked like. Discover the things that children kept in their desks and what they used to do their writing. This clip shows you what school was like in the past as two adults (actors Terry Norris and Carmel Millhouse) remember what they did at school.

The dunce hat


Have a look inside a classroom from 100 years ago. What are the children writing on? How is this classroom similar to yours? How is it different?

Buckingham House volunteer Jeannie Green tells us what used to happen if you misbehaved in the classroom: you’d have to put on the "dunce" hat and stand in the corner as punishment!

What happens in your classroom when children do the wrong thing?

First Australian Readers

Learn about the first series of Australian reading books used for reading lessons in NSW schools from the 1880s.

Bell's gone!


School finishes for the day and parents are waiting to take their children home. Find out what school pickup time looked like in 1974.

Old School


Have you ever wondered what school was like in the olden days? How different the classrooms, teachers and lessons were...and what the punishment was if you were bad? Well, students in Sydney are getting a chance to learn a lesson or two about what life was like in the 19th century. As Tash reports, they're getting a taste of the tough standards of schooling in the past!

1933 Homework Book

View a homework book owned by a 6th Class student of a NSW primary school in 1933. Learn about school lessons, style of writing and presentation of book work from that time.