Our Dark History - Colonial Violence

Suitable for Year Levels 6–9

The history of Australia has often been told as a tale of heroism and discovery, of brave settlers sailing across treacherous seas to discover and settle a strange land. What is often neglected in this historical narrative is the true story of how the land was taken. The massacre of the First Peoples of Australia is a difficult story for us to listen to, but it is a story that we all need to hear.

The following key resources provide a good starting point for this study.

Watch this recorded livestream session on Colonial Violence 

Think and Write

  • As you watch this recorded livestream think of some questions that you would like to ask and write them down?
  • Why do you think there is silence around this part of our history?
  • Why is it important to find out more about what happened in the past?

Think and Write

  • Go to the massacre map and find examples in Victoria and in other states.
  • Do a search to see if you can find accounts of massacres in Australia in the historical record.
  • Read other accounts on the Guardian website.
  • What are the explanations given for why these massacres occurred?
  • Write a report about what you have learned.

Victorian Curriculum Links


Level 5–6

  1. Identify and describe patterns of continuity and change in daily life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ‘native born’ and migrants in the Australian colonies (VCHHC085)
  2. Explain the causes of significant events that shaped the Australian colonies, contributed to Australian Federation and the effects of these on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants (VCHHC086)
  3. The different experiences and perspectives of Australian democracy and citizenship, including the status and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants, women, and children (VCHHK094)

Level 7–8

  1. Analyse the different perspectives of people in the past (VCHHC100)
  2. The significant beliefs, values and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures including trade with other communities, causes and effects of warfare, and death and funerary customs (VCHHK106)

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