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War correspondents such as Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett and Australian Sir Keith Murdoch played key roles in letting people back home know what was going on. Initially they were heavily censored. Have your students pretend they are a reporter reporting from the front line. Write a newspaper report outlining one of the key events of the Gallipoli campaign or another ANZAC campaign. Consider how the reports changed throughout the war and how these reports in turn affected the views of Queenslanders back home.
Much of what we know about the personal experiences of Queenslanders comes from the diaries and journals they wrote while at the front. Unlike letters home, these journals were not seen by anyone until after the war. In these diaries, many Queenslanders could detail their most intimate thoughts without fear of censorship. Have your students examine an event in the war then write a diary or journal entry detailing their experience.
Postcard or letter
If you had a chance to write a letter home would you tell your family the whole truth about the horrors of war? Put this question to your students then have them write a postcard or letter home detailing their experiences of a major event of the war.
Produce a timeline of contemporary and historical methods of communication.
Social and political division
Enlist to fight
Ask your students to pretend it is the start of the war and they want to enlist. Have them complete an Application to Enlist form (Resource 6) stating why they want to join. Consider the perspective of an Indigenous Australian, a woman and an Australian male of British heritage.
Examine recruitment posters
Examine the language used in recruitment posters. How is it different from today? Is it persuasive? Is it emotive?
Examine newspaper reports, posters and propaganda material
Examine newspaper reports written during the war and consider if and how support for the war changed over time.
Examine recruitment campaigns and posters highlighted throughout the exhibition and consider how these affected people’s support for the war and their willingness to enlist.
Hold a referendum
Hold a secret conscription referendum in your class to answer the following questions:
Would you vote yes or no for conscription if you had lived in Queensland during the First World War?
Would you vote yes or no for conscription if you were asked to vote in a referendum today?
Design a poster
Examine the language and symbolism of conscription and referendum posters. Have students design their own poster incorporating what they have learnt.
Make up a song
Listen to patriotic songs then have students make one up. (See Resource 7.)
Legacy and commemoration
Consider symbolism and commemoration
Consider the symbolism and the different aspects of an ANZAC day service: the last post, poppies, the rising sun badge, dawn service etc.
Examine the use of memorials and the different forms they take: winged victory, lone soldier, plaque with names, etc.
Gallipoli was Australia’s first entry into war as a nation and militarily it was a disaster. In view of this, should we commemorate it the way we do? Ask your students to write a persuasive essay detailing their position.
Have your students pretend they are Prime Minister Billy Hughes. Their task is to write a speech to encourage Queenslanders to vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum. Have them include words and concepts such as ‘loyalty to the Empire’, to which they have been introduced during their visit.
Design a banner which may have been displayed at a recruitment rally in 1916. Consider how they might change during the course of the war. For example, before Gallipoli there was a call to support the British Empire, after Gallipoli there was a call to support our fallen troops.
Prepare a class debate which considers if Australia should have gone to war in 1915. Research arguments presented for and against at the time then present these as a class debate.
Re-enact the ‘Who Threw the Egg’ incident using scripts written by the students.
Examine political cartoons of the time. Have your students create one which represents a prominent war theme or event.
Community care and support
Ask students to pretend they are a newspaper reporter from 1920. Have them write a report which details how soldiers have been supported since their return.
Have your students design a poster to advertise one of the following:
- Patriotic concert
- Land for sale for returned troops
Invite a speaker from Legacy or the RSL to discuss how they care for returned soldiers and their families. Consider if and how their roles have changed over time.
Examine postcards from the time and consider the images on them and why they were chosen. Have students design their own postcards
using the symbolism and language of the era.
General post-visit activities
Using information collected during their visit, have your students write a biography of one of the Queenslanders who went to war. Have them locate associated artefacts, objects and images on State Library’s catalogue, One Search, to support their biographies.
Use a senses chart (Resource 6) to describe life in the trenches, and then write a description.
Analyse poems found throughout the display (Resource 7). Ask students to write their own versions.
Complete a timeline of major First World War events.
From the exhibit, using the characters located in the postcard display, conduct a characterisation study of each. (Characters are: Stretcher Bearer, Nurse, Machine Gunner, Prisoner of War, Doctor, Lighthorseman, Infantryman, and Desert Supply Train Driver.) Use inquiry questions to help students create the characters. (Some examples of character development questions are in the display.)
Ask students to select one of the characters. Using a character mapping chart, further develop your chosen character.
‘Hot seat’ each student to answer as their character in front of classmates.
With a partner, create and improvise a scene. Ensure students have selected relevant elements of drama to develop the scene (place, time, etc). Perform in front of classmates.
Cause and effect charts
Map the cause and effect of different incidents during the war both overseas and back home. Start with the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and go from there.
Consider the terrain at Gallipoli.
How did this contribute to the failure of the campaign?
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