Year 4: First contact


First Contact is a day program focusing on the initial contacts between Aboriginal and European people in the Moreton Bay area.  Students are immersed in a moment in time in 1823, when circumstances brought the two different cultures together for the first time.  Students are encouraged to become 'Champions for the Bay' by developing deeper understanding of local Indigenous Culture and reflecting on historical events and how they shaped the area. 

The program begins with an introduction to the story of Pamphlett, Parsons and Finnegan, three ex-convicts lost in Moreton Bay. Students adopt the role of Pamphlett, Parsons and Finnegan and follow their story, learning some of the knowledge and skills the Indigenous people of the Moreton Bay area freely shared.  To facilitate learning, students participate in an Indigenous Presentation focusing on Culture, Language, Country and Lifestyle.  This includes a Yarning Circle, a Bush Foods Walk, learning Indigenous names for the local area and a Tools and Weapons Demonstration.

Students are invited to put their new knowledge into action and discover if they are able to survive alone, as the three men had to when they reached the mainland of Moreton Bay.  Under the guidance of Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre teachers, students attempt a range of hands-on activities that were essential for survival, such as fire building, shelter construction from natural local materials, using a spear and boomerang to "hunt" animals and storytelling.

The day provides students with the opportunity to reflect and analyse their learning and new understandings in relation to Indigenous Culture, Language, Country and Lifestyle. The program culminates with students discovering the last chapter of the Pamphlett, Parsons and Finnegan story and finding out whether they survived and what became of them!

Curriculum Intent

Humanities and Social Sciences

Inquiry and Skills


  • Pose questions to investigate people, events, places and issues (ACHASSI073)


  • Sequence information about people's lives and events (ACHASSI076)


  • Examine information to identify different points of view and distinguish facts from opinions (ACHASSI077)

Evaluating and Reflecting

  • Interact with others with respect to share points of view (ACHASSI080)  

Knowledge and Understanding


  • The diversity of Australia's first peoples and the long and continuous connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Country/Place (land, sea, waterways and skies) (ACHASSK083)

  • The journey(s) of AT LEAST ONE world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with other societies and any impacts (ACHASSK084)

  • The nature of contact between aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions on, for example, people and environments (ACHASSK086)


  • The importance of environments, including natural vegetation, to animals and people (ACHASSK088)

  • The custodial responsibility Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have for Country/Place, and how this influences views about sustainability (ACHASSK089)

General Capabilities


  • Composing texts through speaking, writing and creating


  • Using spatial reasoning

Critical and creative thinking

  • Identifying, exploring and organising information and ideas

  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions

  • Reflecting on thinking and processes

Ethical understanding

  • Understanding ethical concepts and issues

  • Reasoning in decision making and actions

  • Exploring values rights and responsibilities

Personal and social capability

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-management

  • Social management

Intercultural understanding

  • Recognising culture and developing respect

  • Interacting and empathising with others

  • Reflecting on intercultural experiences and taking responsibility

Cross-curriculum Priorities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples live in Australia as first peoples of Country or Place and demonstrate resilience in responding to historic and contemporary impacts of colonisation

  • The significant contributions of Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the present and past are acknowledged locally, nationally and globally

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have holistic belief systems and are spiritually and intellectually connected to the land, sea, sky and waterways

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have many language groups

HASS Unit 1 'Early Exploration and Settlement'

Last reviewed 20 October 2020
Last updated 20 October 2020