Civil Rights, Leadership & Political Activism

History Years 5-6

Key Questions

  • What impact did white arrival have on local Aboriginal Peoples?
  • What were local Aboriginal Peoples’ civil rights throughout history since British arrival?
  • How did civil rights change?
  • Who were/are our local Aboriginal leaders?

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how local Aboriginal Peoples way of life changed upon white arrival.
  • A comparative understanding of local Aboriginal Peoples’ civil rights to those of other Australians.
  • Learn about political activism in our local area and the effects of change to civil rights including the Cummeragunja Walk Off and life on The Flats.

Curriculum Links

Historical Knowledge 

  • The nature of convict or colonial presence, including the factors that influenced changing patterns of development, how the environment changed, and aspects of the daily life of the inhabitants, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples(VCHHK089)
  • 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)
  • The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping and changing a colony (VCHHK092)
  • Significant contributions of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and migrants, to changing Australian society(VCHHK096)

Historical Concepts and Skills

  • 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)
  • Describe perspectives and identify ideas, beliefs and values of people and groups in the past (VCHHC084)
  • 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)
  • Explain the significance of an event and an individual or group that influenced change in the Australian colonies and in Australian society since Federation(VCHHC087)

Intercultural Capability

  • Analyse how aspects of their own and others lifestyle, behaviour, attitudes and beliefs can be culturally influenced (VCICCB009)
  • Identify barriers to and means of reaching understandings within and between culturally diverse groups (VCICCD011)

Key Local Knowledge Featured in this Unit


Cummeragunja Mission

Cummeragunja Mission is an important site within our local history, with an extremely significant history.


The Flats

The Flats, located between Shepparton and Mooropna, is an important local site, with a deep and relevant local history that has greatly influenced our area.  Ideally, students should be taken on a field trip to The Flats as a part of this unit.


Uncle William Cooper

Uncle William is a significant national figure, and a civil rights leaders, who was born and raised on Cummeragunja Mission.


Sir Doug Nicholls

Sir Doug is a further significant national figure born and raised on Cummeragunja Mission.  He went on to be Governor of South Australia.


Uncle Jack Patten

Uncle Jack is another significant national figure born and raised on Cummeragunja Mission, as well as being an important civil rights leader.


Aunty Margaret Tucker

Aunty Margaret is another leader with significant connections to Cummeragunja.  While she was not born there, she was raised there amongst her mother’s people.