St Helena Stories - Birdcage of the Bay is designed to be a self-directed unit of work following the story of the St Helena Island Penal Establishment in colonial Australia in the 1800s. St Helena Island Penal Establishment is used as an example of the establishment of a colony in Australia and many parallels can be drawn. This program has been written as a story in chapters, with the activities in each chapter being covered at the students’ own pace.
St Helena Stories - Birdcage of the Bay is aligned to the year 5 HASS Unit 2 of the Australian Curriculum and provides an opportunity for students to answer the following inquiry questions:
- What do we know about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past and how do we know?
- How did an Australian colony develop over time and why?
- How did colonial settlement change the environment?
- What were the significant events and who were the significant people that shaped Australian colonies?
Exploration and discovery is intertwined throughout this program through primary sources such as photographs, ledgers, maps, artefacts, drone footage and secondary sources such as archaeological reports, historian recounts and a virtual reality tour.
This program has been developed in partnership with the Queensland State Archives and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. This story’s name comes from the following quote. “Prisoners received visitors in a hot, mosquito-infested building known as the ‘birdcage’ “(QLD State Archives).
Students, in the role of Historians will:
- Interrogate historical sources of information to determine Aboriginal and European use of St Helena Island.
- Comprehend the significant events that led to the development of St Helena Island Penal Establishment.
- Examine ways the St Helena Penal Establishment settlement changed the environment.
- Analyse the diverse perspectives of different social groups in the Colonial period.
- Evaluate the importance of St Helena Island as a significant historical site in Moreton Bay.