Ancient Indigenous Civilisations

History Years 7-8

Key Questions

  • What were the cultural practices and traditions specific to our local Indigenous peoples?  
  • What were the economic practices and traditions specific to our local Indigenous peoples?
  • Why does this ancient past remain important today to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples?
  • What efforts are being made locally to conserve ancient remains and practices?

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • explain key local Indigenous practices
  • compare key local Indigenous practices to both Indigenous practices in other areas of Australia and contemporary practices
  • analyse the significance of these local practices today
  • explain efforts to conserve ancient artefacts, remains and practices

Curriculum Links

Historical Knowledge

  • How physical or geographical features influenced the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ communities, foundational stories and land management practices (VCHHK105)
  • 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)
  • The nature of sources of evidence about ancient Australia and what they reveal about Australia’s ancient past, such as the use of resources (VCHHK107)
  • The importance of conserving the remains of the ancient past, including the heritage, culture and artefacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (VCHHK108)

Key Local Knowledge Featured in this Unit

barmah forest

Barmah National Park

Parks Victoria guides can take students to visit key sites for both trade and culture, as well as to see ancient remains (and to explain the process of conserving them).

Details on organising a trip are included within the Unit Plan.


The Bangerang Cultural Centre

The Cultural Centre includes a great range of artefacts and exhibits, relevant to the traditional (but also contemporary) cultures and histories of this area.

The details for organising a visit to the Cultural Centre are included within the Unit Plan.

How the Murray River was Made

How the Murray River was Made

the Dreamtime Story

This is a Dreamtime story of the local people for how Biami/Tutakapin created the Murray River. This story is introduced in the first lesson of this unit.

Other versions of this text are available.

Barmah Trees

The Barmah Bunyip (and other stories)

Many schools will have copies of a series of books by Sue Briggs-Pattison, including The Barmah Bunyip.

These books are a fantastic resource for this unit of work.

Aunty Ella discusses family and kinship

Aunty Ella on the importance of elders

Aunty Faye discusses the importance of elders


Culture Victoria Videos

The Culture Victoria website contains a range of videos and resources on Indigenous Civilisations, including those of Professor Henry Atkinson and Uncle Wally Cooper featured in this Unit.

Information on the specific, relevant videos is contained in the Unit Plan.