Indigenous Australians - Stage 3 Teachers' Notes

Self-guided activities for students exploring the Indigenous Australians: Australia's first peoples exhibition.

Indigenous Australians Exhibition

Australian Museum Photograher  © Australian Museum

PLEASE NOTE: Our Indigenous Australians exhibition is currently undergoing renovation. Some elements of the exhibition have been changed in format or removed.
The eastern half of the exhibition space now displays objects from the Museum’s permanent collection and the western half now hosts special Indigenous art exhibitions.

Before your visit

Syllabus links
  • Human Society and Its Environment
  • Creative Arts
  • Science and Technology
  • English Language
Pre-visit activities

To make the most of your visit to the exhibition we recommend that you prepare your students beforehand by:

  • making students aware that there are two groups of Indigenous Australians: Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people.
  • informing your students that Aboriginal people have 260 separate nations and that each of these groups has different dreaming, laws, sources of food, tools and materials. Ask them to look at the differences in objects from different areas.
  • introducing or revising relevant terminology used in the student activity sheets including spirituality (the dreaming), extended family, bush tucker, social justice and reconciliation.
  • providing a context for the excursion to the Museum including the reasons for visiting the Museum, the tasks to be completed and the expected outcomes.

Please photocopy the following materials for each student:

The following materials should be photocopied for each supervising adult:

At the Australian Museum

The activities enable students to explore concepts related to Indigenous Australians' history and culture while immersed in a stimulating object-rich environment. The students use the focus questions as a stimulus to learning about the objects, artwork, reconstructions, oral histories, photographs and other materials in the exhibition.

The Indigenous Australians student activity booklet is divided into 7 small sections:

  • Spirituality and spirituality today
  • Cultural heritage
  • What is Family?
  • Why is land important?
  • Australia’s Secret Histories
  • Land Rights
  • What is social justice

You can divide students into groups and allow them to rotate around the exhibition. Each student can either complete all the activities or one activity per group and report their information back at school.

Organisational tips

  • Use the Museum Guide Map to guide the students to the Indigenous Australians: Australia’s first peoples exhibition on ground level of the Museum.
  • Advise the students that they will investigate 7 activities in this exhibition and that each activity is based in a different part of the exhibition.

Post-visit activities

  • Discuss what reconciliation means to each student.
  • Ask students if they identified differences between objects from different nations and why these differences exist (availability of resources/ different beliefs/ different heritage) for example shields, paintings, stories and languages.

Laura McBride , Creative Producer
Last Updated:

Tags teachers, notes, aboriginal, studies, Indigenous, Australians, Australia, Stage 3, exhibition, guide,