Education kit overview

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State Library of Queensland, through the John Oxley Library, has been collecting First World War diaries, letters, photographs and historically significant items since it opened its doors in 1934.

One hundred years on from the beginning of the First World War there are still stories to be told, memories to be shared, and undiscovered treasures tucked away in family homes, personal collections, and heritage and cultural institutions across Queensland.

Through uncovering our past, connecting stories, and capturing contemporary commemorations across Queensland, together we will build new knowledge, skills and online resources – creating a digital legacy for future generations to gain greater understanding of the Queensland experiences during and after the First World War.

Q ANZAC 100: Memories for a New Generation is a five year state wide legacy initiative providing Queenslanders with opportunities to learn and contribute to bringing our history to life and a renewed First World War and Anzac legacy for future generations.

More than 57,700 Queenslanders served our country in the First World War. State Library of Queensland exhibition’s Distant Lines: Queensland voices of the First World War will connect you and your students with the intimate and untold stories of Queenslanders as we commemorate 100 years since the First World War. Distant Lines examines both the home front and war front experiences of Queenslanders before, during and after the First World War.

This exhibition is suitable for students from grades 5–12 studying the First World War. While this education kit has been designed largely for grade 6, 9, 11 and 12 History and Modern History students, most activities within the kit can easily be modified to suit other age levels.

This education kit contains the following:

Exhibition information

Information for visiting school groups

  • Booking information
  • Suggested itineraries

Education material

  • Curriculum links
  • Activity suggestions (pre-visit/post-visit)
  • Supporting classroom resources

Exhibition information


Distant Lines showcases items and images from State Library’s extensive First World War collections to provide a unique picture of Queensland’s experience of war. The exhibition focuses on personal narratives from the war front while providing the broader historical context around social and political developments on the home front.


The exhibition explores the following themes:

  • Patriotism
  • Distance and communication
  • Community support and care
  • Social and political division
  • Legacy and commemoration

Library spaces and content

The exhibition Distant Lines is located in four areas throughout the library. A brief description of each as well as an overview of the themes and interpretation material found in each space is detailed below.

Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery: level 4

This gallery will introduce your students to the early stages of the war and examines the home front experiences of war. It considers Queensland before and at the beginning of the war, recruitment, enlistment, conscription and women’s contribution as fundraisers, red cross volunteers and medical professionals. The gallery also looks at the darker side of patriotism – racism, censorship and propaganda.

Major Themes
Home front experience
Social and political division
Community support and care
Legacy and commemoration

Interpretation Material
Text panels, images, posters, letters.

Talbot Family Treasures Wall: level 4

The Talbot Family Treasures Wall is located adjacent to the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery. This wall case contains items and images that examine the origins and development of Anzac Day in Queensland.

Major Themes
Home front experience

Interpretation Material
Images and objects.

SLQ Gallery: level 2

This gallery explores the war front experiences of 25 Queenslanders. Each is represented through a biography and supporting images and objects. This gallery also explores the tyranny of distance both emotionally, geographically and ideologically. It also examines how simple forms of communication such as the postcard, bridged the distance and were so important to both the Queenslanders serving overseas and those waiting at home.

The centre of this gallery supports a stylised representation of a First World War trench. The ‘trench’ will house different displays and activities throughout the exhibition period.

Major Themes
War front experience

Interpretation Material
Text panels, images, objects
and digital stories.

Infozone: level 1

This space examines Australia’s two conscription referenda (1916 and 1917). It examines reasons for and against conscription at the time and proposes the questions, which way would you vote?

Major ThemesHome front experience
Social and political division

Interpretation MaterialImages, text panels, posters.

Information for visiting school groups


As each space will take approximately 30 minutes* to cover, it is suggested that at least two and a half hours be allocated to comfortably view all spaces. This includes 30 minutes to allow for movement between spaces. Allow more time for lunch and toilet breaks, as well as travel to and from State Library. (*Less time is advised for the Infozone and Talbot Family Treasures Wall.)

Maximum group sizes

30 students (Options 1 and 2 below)
60 students (Option 3 below)

Suggested itineraries

Each of the spaces can comfortably accommodate up to 30 students. With this in mind the following itineraries are suggested.

Option 1: Keep students as one group and rotate throughout the four spaces.

It is suggested you begin this option in Infozone on the ground floor before moving up to level 4 to the Philip Bacon Gallery, then the Talbot Family Treasures Wall before finally visiting the SLQ Gallery on level 2.

Option 2: Break your students into two groups.


Group 1

First hour

Explore Infozone on the ground floor then the Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery on level 4.

Second hour

Explore the Talbot Family Treasures Wall (level 4) then the SLQ Gallery on level 2.

Group 2

First Hour

Explore SLQ Gallery on level 2 then the Talbot Family Treasures Wall of level 4.

Second Hour

Explore Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery on level 4 then Infozone on level 1.

Option 3: Break students into four groups.
Break the students into four groups and have them rotate through the four different exhibition spaces.

Movement between spaces

Students may use lifts or stairs. Please remind your students to be courteous of other library users, and to keep noise levels at a minimum while moving between spaces.


On your arrival, toilets are located on the ground floor, adjacent to Infozone. Alternatively, bathroom facilities are available on every level of the library.

Storage of school bags

Large items can be left at the Welcome Desk on level 1.

Lunch and refreshments

Visit the Library Café on level 1 for coffee and refreshments. Multiple areas are available for large group dining. Maiwar Green between State Library and Gallery of Modern Art, and the deck outside kuril dhagun are options for fine weather or, in the event of rainy weather, students can dine on the deck on level 1, accessed through the Infozone, or the Knowledge Walk, level 1.

Risk assessment

A Risk Management Policy consistent with statutory requirements of Section 28 of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 and the Australian/New Zealand Standard on Risk Management (AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009) is in place.

Risk Management strategies include:

  • State Library registered as a Workplace under Workplace Health and Safety legislation;
  • First Aid accessible by visiting an Information desk on levels 1, 3 and 4;
  • Regular assessment undertaken to identify hazards;
  • Workplace Health and Safety Incident Report forms completed for all incidents.

Before your visit

It is suggested that teachers visit the exhibition before bringing school groups.
Book your visit online.
Split students into groups.
Download and distribute all on-site resources.
Ensure all students and guides are aware of the day’s timetable.

Onsite activities and resources

Onsite activities provide opportunities for research and information collection.
They also provide opportunities to see and experience items in situ. Onsite activities and resources included for each space are detailed in the table below.

*Links to the student workbooks and guidebooks are found in the visit resources section of this kit. These scripts can be read by the guides or teachers, and include information and activities to help teachers interpret the displays for their students.

Library spaceActivityResources

Philip Bacon Gallery: level 4

Students complete a workbook which requires them to answer focus questions as well as analysing some of the items on display.

Upper Primary Guide Script
Secondary Guide Script
Secondary Student workbook

Talbot Family Treasures Wall: level 4

Using the script and information provided in the guide book, the guide will help students investigate the images on the wall, which examine the origins and images of ANZAC Day in Queensland.

Students will then be asked to choose one image themselves and analyse it using the questions provided in the student workbook.

Guide script (primary and secondary use)
Primary Student workbook
Secondary Student workbook

SLQ Gallery: level 2

Using questions found in their guide book, students will investigate the lives and items of Queenslanders who went to war.

Guide script (primary and secondary use)
Primary Student workbook
Secondary student workbook


Teachers will be provided with a detailed script that they can read to their students. The script contains background information about the exhibit as well as questions which ask students to analyse different aspects of the exhibition.

Guide script (primary and secondary use)


Free volunteer guided tours of the Distant Lines exhibition spaces are available on request, or self-guided tours are welcome. Please notify State Library of your visit by submitting a booking form online.

Education materials

This kit, combined with a tour to State Library, strongly supports the study of History in grades 6 and 9 and the study of Modern History in grades 11 and 12. It also supports various cross-curricular learning areas capabilities and priorities. The History and Modern History links are provided below. Cross-curricular activity suggestions are detailed in the pre and post visit activity suggestions.

Curriculum links to Australian curriculum (V7.5)

History: Grade 6
Knowledge and understanding

Topic  Australia as a nation

Experiences of Australian democracy and citizenship including the status and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, migrants, women and children.

The contribution of individuals and groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and migrants to the development of Australian society.

Possible inquiry questions

  1. What contribution did Australia’s Indigenous Peoples and women play during the war?
  2. What were their citizenship rights before and after the war?
  3. What role did Australia’s democratic ideals have in the conscription debate? (referendum)
  4. What were the experiences of Australians serving overseas?
  5. How did the First World War impact Australia – socially, economically, and politically?

History: Grade 9
Knowledge and understanding

Depth study  The First World War

Students investigate key aspects of the First World War and the Australian experience of the war, including the nature and significance of the war in world and Australian history.


  1. An overview of the causes of the First World War and the reasons why men chose to enlist.
  2. The places where Australians fought and the nature of warfare during the First World War, including the Gallipoli campaign.
  3. The impact of the First World War, with a particular emphasis on Australia (such as the use of propaganda to influence the civilian population, the changing role of women, the conscription debate).
  4. The commemoration of the First World War, including debates about the nature and significance of the Anzac legend.

Modern history: Grades 11 and 12
Knowledge and understanding

Elective  An alternative significant development: the First World War

Students investigate how the First World War shaped the modern world.

Possible inquiry questions 9, 11 and 12

  1. What were the causes of the First World War?
  2. Who were the significant people, alliances and events associated with the First World War?
  3. What were the key ideas of the age – imperialism, patriotism etc?
  4. What were the experiences of people involved in and affected by the war?
  5. What were the effects of the war both immediate and long term?

Historical skills (All grades)

The following table provides some examples of how the exhibition Distant Lines and this teacher kit support the historical skills as outlined in the Australian Curriculum.


Chronology terms and concepts

Create timelines of major events.

Use terminology to discuss the First World War.

Read and comprehend terminology used in text panels and other interpretive materials.

Discuss and understand concepts of patriotism, racism, loyalty, nationalism etc.

Historical questions and research

Research a Queenslander who served in the war by analysing the sources and information
found in the Distant Lines exhibition.

Form historical questions to research further upon return to school.

Analysis and use of sources

Use the primary sources found in the exhibition spaces to answer inquiry questions.

Analyse sources back at school online using State Library’s catalogue, One Search.

Perspectives and Interpretation

Use the sources and background information found in the Distant Lines exhibition to investigate
and analyse the different perspectives on enlistment, conscription, reasons for going to war etc.

Explanation and Communication

After gathering information during an onsite visit, students can communicate findings through a variety of communication forms and texts including diaries, letters, poems, research reports etc.

General capabilities and cross curriculum priorities (All grades)

The exhibition Distant Lines and this teacher kit provide opportunities to embed the following general capabilities and cross curriculum priorities into the learning programme:

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding

Cross curriculum priority

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Activity suggestions

Studies have shown that students learn more from an excursion if it is embedded into an extended school programme. This means that the excursion should not be a stand-alone experience but should link to other learning experiences. One way teachers can achieve this is by undertaking pre and post-visit activities.

Pre-visit activities orientate students to the topic. They should include background information which students can build upon during their tour. They should also prepare students for any information gathering that needs to occur during their visit.

Post-visit activities allow students to extend upon or consolidate their knowledge of the topic back at school.

In view of this and in consideration of the knowledge students will need to possess before they view the exhibition, the following pre-visit
and post-visit activities have been suggested. Modify them to suit different year levels.

When completing any activity consider historical concepts:Perspective: consider the perspective of different people affected by the First World War.

  • A Turkish soldier
  • An Anzac nurse
  • A German civilian
  • An ANZAC digger
  • An Indigenous ANZAC
  • A British general
  • A parent of a soldier at home, reading about the war in a newspaper

Supporting resources

Onsite activities
Downloadable worksheets
There are a series of activities available for download on the State Library of Queensland website and have your students complete while visiting the exhibition: Distant Lines: Queensland voices of the First World War.

Upper Primary School Students
Secondary Students

Guide scriptsGuide scripts, which can be used by teachers to help them interpret the exhibition for their students, are also available for download.

Postcard displayDetailed in the SLQ Gallery Guide script, this onsite activity is available for students to engage with during their visit. Its location within SLQ may vary throughout the course of the Distant Lines exhibition, so please check with SLQ staff upon your arrival for its current location.
The postcard activity will also be available to download for use in your own school or library.

Other useful links

National websites

Australian War Memorial

Department of Veteran Affairs

Queensland websites

Australian Government

State Library of Queensland: Q ANZAC 100 Project


Basil Stubbs (young boy) (State Archives letter)
Navy (SLQ letter)
Army (SLQ letter)
Airforce (SLQ letter)

iBook‘Yes or No’. In partnership with Apple, State Library of Queensland has produced iBook, which covers the theme of conscription during the First World War.

Queensland Museum Q ANZAC 100 KitsQueensland Museum Loans has available a suite of kits that link learning in years 9 and 10 History.
Eight kits have been developed for grade 9 (the First World War) and eight for grade 10 (World War 2). Each kit contains artefacts, replicas and printed resources. For more information, or to borrow a kit, contact QM Loans at the Queensland Museum, online at

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