One might ask why stu­dents should study his­tory. What will they gain from re­search­ing, analysing and con­sid­er­ing the past? Why do the sto­ries of the 41,000 ser­vice men and women who left from Albany in Western Aus­tralia, bound for World War 1, mat­ter now

The Australian Education Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Ham­mond Man­ager - Albany Heritage Park Na­tional AN­ZAC Cen­tre

THE study of his­tory, of Aus­tralian his­tory, of sto­ries such as those pre­sented at the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre, en­cour­ages stu­dents of all ages to think about hu­man val­ues, about past, present and fu­ture chal­lenges to our so­ci­ety and to the world.

Study­ing his­tory pro­motes an un­der­stand­ing of so­ci­eties, events, move­ments and de­vel­op­ments that have shaped hu­man­ity from the ear­li­est times. It is fun­da­men­tal to un­der­stand­ing our­selves and oth­ers.

The Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre, an award win­ning state-of-the-art in­ter­pre­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, uses mul­ti­me­dia, in­ter­ac­tive tech­nol­ogy and deeply per­sonal his­tor­i­cal arte­facts to cre­ate an emo­tional con­nec­tion with the past wo­ven through the sto­ries of in­di­vid­ual men and women who left from King Ge­orge Sound to fight for Aus­tralia in WW1.

The Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre is a trib­ute to those who served and in 2016, it was named by Tripad­vi­sor as the num­ber one mu­seum in Aus­tralia.

Op­er­ated by the City of Albany and cu­rated by the Western Aus­tralian Mu­seum, the learn­ing and en­gage­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to achieve key Aus­tralian cur­ricu­lum out­comes were a driver be­hind the de­vel­op­ment of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mul­ti­ple lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion ac­ces­si­ble within the cen­tre de­liver key con­cepts and con­tent link­ing to both the pri­mary and secondary his­tory cur­ricu­lum, in par­tic­u­lar years 3, 6 and 9. The Cen­tre pro­vides ex­cel­lent learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties around the Na­tional Com­mem­o­ra­tion of An­zac Day, the de­vel­op­ment of Aus­tralian so­ci­ety, the sig­nif­i­cance of WW1 and the mak­ing of the mod­ern world.

The cen­tre com­bines ex­hi­bi­tions, rich in ob­jects with highly in­ter­ac­tive, multi-me­dia con­tent. To nav­i­gate and in­ter­pret this con­tent stu­dents as­sume the iden­tity of one of 32 ac­tual ser­vice men or women, and fol­low their ex­pe­ri­ences of the Great War; from re­cruit­ment, through train­ing and em­barka­tion, ship-board life on the con­voys, the con­flicts at Gal­lipoli, the Mid­dle East and the Western Front and for those lucky enough to sur­vive, their re­turn home and the dif­fi­cul­ties they faced ad­just­ing back into nor­mal so­ci­ety.

The in­clu­sion of tech­nol­ogy and mul­ti­me­dia pro­vides a lay­ered ap­proach to un­cov­er­ing in­for­ma­tion, en­abling teach­ers to highlight or omit a va­ri­ety of con­cepts, themes or lev­els of com­plex­ity de­pen­dent on which year level of the cur­ricu­lum they are work­ing with. This pro­vides teach­ers with the flex­i­bil­ity to de­velop and de­liver their own spe­cific pro­grams and les­son plans.

The WA Mu­seum has cu­rated the ex­pe­ri­ence in a way that en­ables stu­dents to be able to ‘do’ and ‘know’. As a re­sult, the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre pro­vides a learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment in which stu­dents can:

• Be cu­ri­ous; pose in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing ques­tions about the past.

• Dis­cover that there are gaps in in­for­ma­tion and that work­ing with the gaps in ev­i­dence is one of the most chal­leng­ing as­pects of piec­ing the past to­gether.

• Dis­cover that his­tory is not one di­men­sional — dates and facts are only a small part of our past his­tory — that is made of peo­ple and their ex­pe­ri­ences and cir­cum­stances at the time.

• Know that there are many per­spec­tives from the past and about the past.

• Be aware that the past can be in­ter­preted dif­fer­ently by groups and in­di­vid­u­als.

• De­velop and prac­tice his­tor­i­cal skills that will hone their in­ves­tiga­tive prac­tice and com­pli­ment their cu­rios­ity.

• Im­merse them­selves amongst his­tor­i­cal arte­facts in a set con­text of ma­jor Aus­tralian his­tor­i­cal event of sig­nif­i­cance, en­riched by per­son­alised nar­ra­tives. The use of pri­mary sources pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to re­ally im­merse them­selves with ev­i­dence from the past.

• Ex­pe­ri­ence em­pa­thy.

• De­velop their own in­ter­pre­ta­tion of WW1 his­tory.

• Ap­ply his­tor­i­cal ques­tions and re­search.

• For­mu­late ex­pla­na­tion and be able to com­mu­ni­cate the story of WW1 ac­cord­ing to their in­quiry and dis­cov­ery.

• Use his­tor­i­cal skills to jus­tify choices of ev­i­dence.

• Ap­ply a de­gree of au­ton­omy in the cre­ation of their own vir­tual mu­seum and de­velop an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the way in which mu­se­ums choose to tell his­tory.

In ad­di­tion to the on-site ex­pe­ri­ences, The Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre also pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive on­line re­search por­tal ac­cessed via its web­site.

This en­ables stu­dents and teach­ers to ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion avail­able in the Cen­tre ei­ther be­fore the visit for les­son plan­ning, or af­ter the visit for con­tin­ued re­search. Stu­dents can con­tinue re­search for the char­ac­ter they fol­lowed within the Cen­tre back in the class room.

Ad­ja­cent to the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre is the heritage listed Princess Royal Fortress, which was one of two pre-fed­er­a­tion fortresses built to pro­tect in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal trade routes. At the time (circa 1890’s) all Aus­tralian colonies con­trib­uted to the cost, demon­strat­ing rare pre-fed­er­a­tion co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the colonies.

The fortress is of ex­cep­tional sig­nif­i­cance for its key role in the first na­tional strat­egy to de­fend Aus­tralia, and presents an­other sig­nif­i­cant ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­nity for vis­it­ing school groups with re­gards to the de­vel­op­ment of Aus­tralian so­ci­ety.

The con­voys which left King Ge­orge Sound as in­ter­preted within the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre chose Albany as a place to gather due to the de­fences and pro­tec­tion the fortress was able to pro­vide the fleet.

If it was not for the Princess Royal Fortress, the con­voys would never have gath­ered in such num­bers in one po­si­tion, demon­strat­ing a sig­nif­i­cant link­age be­tween the sto­ries told within the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre and the his­toric build­ings that sur­round it.

Stu­dents can wan­der the grounds of the fortress and ex­pe­ri­ence a tac­tile and hands on ap­proach to what it was like to pro­tect Aus­tralia’s shores at times of war, as well as ex­plore orig­i­nal gun bat­ter­ies, large costal gun de­fences and the bar­racks where of­fi­cers lived and worked.

More in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at the Na­tional An­zac Cen­tre web­site www.na­tion­alan­za­c­cen­tre.com.au.

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