Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings

Nineteenth century pastoral life on the Darling Downs comes alive in this intimate exhibition of treasures at SLQ. Explore the prized possessions, photo albums, planting journals, and other records of pastoral life of the Europeans who settled in the Darling Downs from 1839.

Popularly known as the ‘grass dukes’ and ‘shepherd kings’, they lived up to their image as antipodean aristocrats, erecting fine homesteads, grand stables and woolsheds and transforming the landscape with exotic plants and formal gardens.

Grass Dukes and Shepherd Kings provides an insight into the lives of the early ‘squatters’ and their pastoral and political power. The exhibition was open daily from 14 December 2012 to 21 April 2013.

Learning Notes


Designed to complement SLQ’s Grass Dukes & Shepherd Kings exhibition, the learning notes aligned with the Australian Curriculum in History, SOSE, English, and Geography. This resource can be used to enhance students’ learning experiences pre-visit, whilst visiting Grass Dukes & Shepherd Kings, and post-visit.

Learning notes: Middle phase (Grades 6 – 10)

Subject and learning focus
History
  • Learn the stories behind the people who came to Australia and why they migrated and settled here
  • Discover the nature and extent of movement of 19th century settlers
  • Sequence historical events, developments and periods
Geography
  • Focus on communities: what and where are the patterns and impacts of settlements
  • Consider the resilience and sustainability of communities
SOSE
  • Observe, visualise, estimate, sketch and measure a range of maps
  • Show how the environment was defined and changed by human activity, e.g. resource use
  • Identify the factors that shape personal identity and a sense of belonging to groups
English
  • Make connections between own experiences and those of people and events from the past
Suggested Teaching and learning experiences

Suggested teaching and learning experiences Subject and learning focus Background reading and useful resources

Discover the Darling Downs
  • Where is the Darling Downs region?
    • View a series of physical and digital maps, including topographic, political and thematic maps
  • Who moved to the Darling Downs in the 19th century? What is a squatter? What is a pastoralist? Has the meaning of these terms changed over time?
  • Why did these people move to the Darling Downs?
  • What was the social, political and geographical climate of South-East Queensland in the mid to late 19th century?
    • Create a timeline of important events
  • Who were the traditional custodians of the land now called the Darling Downs?
    • What happened to them?
Where is your “village”?
  • What makes a community?
    • Consider where you live, shop, go to school, play sport, visit the doctor and meet up with friends. Where do you learn about current events? Where do your food, clothing, and personal items come from?
  • Map the geographical boundaries of your community, e.g. draw your own map, highlight an atlas / street directory, or tag a GoogleMap maps.google.com.au
  • Do you think people in the past had larger or smaller communities? Why?
  • Considering your requirements within a community, design a self-contained village. “Design thinking” lessons and videos are available www.designonline.org.au
All about ewe
  • Discover how sheep breeding defined the Darling Downs.
    • Why sheep?
    • Where did the sheep come from? Discuss the import / export of livestock.
    • How did sheep breeding impact on the natural environment and on the economy?
    • Who was “Old Billy”?
Extension activities

Read, listen to, or watch On Our Selection (1899) by Queensland author Steele Rudd. Find and request the resources at State Library onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au, and download or view online www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3677#download

Watch Australia’s first films, including original footage of Harvesting in the Darling Downs and Dipping Sheep near Toowoomba www.bit.ly/PTl8CE

Subject and learning focus
History
  • Identify the origin, purpose and context of primary and secondary sources
  • Locate, compare and select information from a range of sources as evidence
  • Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past
SOSE
  • Observe, visualise, estimate, sketch and measure a range of maps
Geography
  • Consider the provision of and access to community services
  • Describe the change occurring through the process of gentrification and urbanisation
English
  • Explain how images contribute to our understanding of written text
  • Examine how texts reflect the context of culture and situation in which they were created
Cross-curricular priorities
  • Understand that experiences can be viewed through historical, social and political lenses
Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Activities

Subject and learning focus
English
  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarify and interrogate ideas, share and evaluate information, experiences and opinions
  • Present or publish a recount or narrative to reflect a variety of viewpoints
History
  • Develop texts (narratives and descriptions) that use evidence from a range of sources
  • Select and use a range of communication forms
  • Appreciate the contribution of individuals and groups to the development of society
Suggested teaching and learning experiences Subject and learning focus
Create a class gazette

Celebrate your class community by creating a class gazette, similar to the Maryvale Gazette. Each person contributes an article, image or artwork.

Darling Downs social event
  • Plan an historical “Pastoral Queensland” social event and invite your family and friends. Use your prior research and visit to the exhibition to inform every aspect of the event: clothing, furniture, recipes, music, leisure activities, entertainment, etc.
A day in the life of…
  • Present, perform or publish the daily life of a “Grass Duke” or “Shepherd King” in 19th century pastoral Queensland.
    • Write a biography, diary entry, or newspaper article
    • Write and perform a poem or play
    • Create, film and/or perform a documentary or game show, e.g. This is Your Life
How does your garden grow?
  • Consider the gardens of the 19th century. Could you grow a similar garden, using similar plant species, in your local area? Why / why not? Design a formal garden space, using a 3D design tool like Google Sketch Up. Bring your design to life at school or home. (If space is an issue, why not try potted plants?)
Extension activities
  • Organise a trip to Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre: one of the few remaining examples of a substantial 19th century country house in Queensland. http://www.queensland.com/attraction/glengallan-homestead-and-heritage-centre Group admission is $3 per child and $8 per adult.
  • Visit a local cemetery to identify life expectancy in the 19th century. Look for tombstones from the 1800s. How old were these people when they died? Graph their ages and compare with those who have died in the 20th and 21st centuries. (Find obituaries in the local paper.) What might have accounted for their shortened life expectancy?

Senior phase (Grades 11 & 12)

Pre-visit activities

Subject and learning focus
Modern History, Local history
  • Explore changes in population, land use, transport, economics, politics, recreation activities etc over time
  • Inquiry focus: backgrounds, changes and continuities, motives and causes
People & environments
  • Understand that human practices can affect the natural and built environments over time
  • Inquiry focus: effects, interests and arguments
Senior Geography, Sustaining communities
  • Understand the historical and economic development of an area
English
  • Engage with a range of texts to encourage student development as language learners and users
Suggested Teaching and learning experiences

Suggested teaching and learning experiences Subject and learning focus Background reading and useful resources

Discover the Darling Downs
  • Where is the Darling Downs region?
    • View a series of physical and digital maps, including topographic, political and thematic maps
    • What were the significant features of the natural and built environment before settlement?
  • What was the social and political climate of South-East Queensland in the mid to late 19th Century?
    • Graphically represent the social and economic development over time (e.g. population, wealth, land and resource use)
    • Create a timeline of events, developments, ideas and beliefs (e.g. beliefs about, and attitudes to, natural and built environments)
  • Who moved to the Darling Downs in the 19th Century and why? Define squatter and pastoralist.
  • Discover how land use (i.e. sheep breeding) impacted on the wellbeing of environments and ecosystems in south-east Queensland, e.g. what native animals have been affected?
  • Who were the traditional custodians of the land now called the Darling Downs? How were they affected by the changes?
Develop your inquiry topic
Extension activities

Read, listen to, or watch On Our Selection (1899) by Queensland author Steele Rudd. Find and request the resources at State Library onesearch.slq.qld.gov.au, and download or view online www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3677#download

Watch Australia’s first films, including original footage of Harvesting in the Darling Downs and Dipping Sheep near Toowoomba www.bit.ly/PTl8CE

Activities

Subject and learning focus
Modern History, The history of everyday life
  • Understand the way people, in different societies and over time, have experienced their daily lives
  • Inquiry focus: effects, interests and arguments
Senior Geography, Sustaining communities
  • Explore the issues and patterns of sustainability and resilience within a community
Senior English
  • Literacy: appreciate and evaluate text structures, ideas, language features and the social and personal uses of language and texts
  • Describe the change occurring through the process of gentrification and urbanisation
Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Post-visit activities

Subject and learning focus
Modsern History
  • Inquiry focus: reflections and responses
Senior English
  • Create and evaluate perspectives and representations of concepts, identities, times and places
Suggested teaching and learning experiences
A day in the life of…
  • Present, perform or publish the daily life of a “Grass Duke” or “Shepherd King” in 19th century pastoral Queensland.
    • Write a biography, diary entry, or newspaper article
    • Write and perform a poem or play
    • Create, film and/or perform a documentary or game show, e.g. This is Your Life
  • Has this exhibition indicated that there has been progress over time in the way people have lived their ordinary lives?
Design a resilient and sustainable community
  • Evaluate the data you’ve collected on the rise and decline of the “Grass Dukes & Shepherd Kings” pastoral community. Considering the factors that caused the changes, design a resilient and sustainable community for the Darling Downs region. “Design thinking” lessons and videos are available online www.designonline.org.au
Extension activities
  • Organise a trip to Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre; one of the few remaining examples of a substantial 19th century country house in Queensland. www.glengallan.org.au Group admission is $3 per child and $8 per adult.
  • Host an historical “Pastoral Queensland” social event. Use your prior research and visit to the exhibition to inform every aspect of the event: clothing, furniture, recipes, music, leisure activities, entertainment, etc.