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Week 01 - Setting sail

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Welcome aboard!  After much anticipation and preparation we finally find ourselves bound for South Australia. This week we will look at what’s been going on in England and South Australia and how it led to the Duke of York and eight other ships embarking on this amazing  journey. How did all this start and what does it mean for Captain Morgan and his crew and passengers?

Seafarer's chest, South Australian Maritime Museum collection

Inquiry Questions:

We meet Captain Morgan on the first day of his voyage.

  • What emotions is he experiencing at this time?
  • How would you feel if placed in this situation?
  • What do you think lies ahead for Captain Morgan and his crew?
  • What preparations would need to be made for a journey like this?

Research Topics:

Setting an historical context.

  • What was it like living in England at this time?
  • Why were these ships sailing to South Australia?
  • What was South Australia like at this time?
  • Who was already living in South Australia?

Historical Skills:

Chronology, terms and concepts

Explore the historical concepts of:

  • colonisation; settlement; invasion; Indigenous people; Aboriginal people; migration; empire building; imperialism; expansion
  • sequence other historical events leading up to the 1836 voyages such as American Declaration of Independence, French revolution, exploration of Australia, Aboriginal people of Australia, settlement in other Australian colonies,  transportation of convicts to Australia.
Historical questions and research Develop broad inquiry questions based on prior knowledge.
Analysis and use of sources


  • using this website as a source of information
  • familiarisation with the language and nature of the primary source extracts
Perspectives and interpretations
  • Consider whose perspective is being presented in each of the entries?
  • How have the historians communicated this information?
Explanation and communication Retell the diary extracts in your own words

Activity Suggestions:

  1. Set up a visual timeline in the classroom which can be added to as the journey progresses. Include dates, images, maps, and keywords.
  2. Set up a ‘wonder wall’ in your classroom. Invite students to add their questions and ‘wonderings.’ Use these to enhance individual student inquiry and encourage students to develop deeper understanding of topics that interest them during the voyage.
  3. Explore the concept of 175 years. How long ago is 1836?
  4. Use the information given to draw a portrait of what you think Captain Morgan may have looked like.
  5. Use a shoe box and make things to fill it with everything you would pack if you were going on the voyage.
  6. Pretend you are Captain Morgan and write a letter to his family explaining why you are leaving for South Australia and what you expect on the voyage.
  7. Investigate your own family history. How long have your family been in South Australia? 1 year? 50 years? 175 years? 40,000 years?

What if?

What if Captain Morgan changed his mind and decided to stay in England?

What do you think?

Captain Morgan is worried about the voyage ahead.

Stay Tuned

Next week we will catch up with Captain Morgan and the Duke of York again to explore the next chapter of their journey to South Australia.

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