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Week 36: Family Life

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 45: Proclamation and Celebration ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 43: Kangaroo Island ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 40 - Finally! The harbour is found ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 37: Building a Home ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 36: Family Life ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 35: Pastimes ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 34 - a tempest ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 26: Whose story? ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 25 - The demon drink ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 22: In Good Time ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 20 - infectious disease ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 18 - the port of Rio ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 16: Crossing the Line ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 16 - towards Australia ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 15 - high drama on the John Pirie ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 08: Employment ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 06 : Weathering the Storm ]

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 05: Ship Shape ]

This week we read the exciting news about the birth of a baby onboard the Buffalo. A number of family groups made the journey to South Australia in 1836 with many ships carrying infants and children. Imagine how this long journey would appear through the eyes of a child compared to that of an adult.  How did the journey and associated risks differ between children and adults? The long journeys to South Australia were testing times for families with children, while the arrival in South Australia brought other challenges.

Taking Caudle, (baby, midwifery), Richard Dagley caricature, 1821. Image courtesy ancestryimages.com

Inquiry Questions:

•   Why were family groups invited to establish the colony of South Australia?
•   How were the ships organised to cater for family groups, (e.g. cabins and sleeping)?
•   What were English family structures like in 1836?
•   How have family structures changed since 1836?

Research Topics:

•   What were the typical roles of family members in 1836?
•   What causes a change in family structures?
•   How did the voyage for families to South Australia change in the years 1836, 1910 and 1950’s?
•   How do you think the sense of identity developed by children born onboard immigrant ships differed to that of their parents?

Historical Skills:

Chronology, Historical terms and concepts:•    Explore the term ‘family.’ What is a family? List student responses and develop a visual representation.
•    Develop a list of family terms, such as nuclear, extended, blended, single parent and write your own definition for these words.
Historical questions and research:•    Research your family history and present your information as a family tree. Can you locate photographs of individuals? How far back can you go? Does anyone in your class identify as having Aboriginal heritage?
Analysing and using sources:•    Every five years the Australian government collect personal information from people in the form of a census. It is compulsory for all people to complete the census as it provides the government with information that helps with planning the future of the country. Can you remember your parents completing one this year. Click on the link to see the proportion of all family households that represent different "family types" in four Census periods, from 1976 to 2006. What information and conclusions can be drawn from this graph and the accompanying information?
•    Can you locate a copy of your birth certificate?  What information is included on it?
Perspectives and interpretation:•    In the 19th century, the man was head of the family. Until 1882 all a woman's property, even the money she earned, belonged to her husband. Divorce was made legal in 1857, but it was very rare for this to occur. Use a values line to discuss these topics in greater depth.
Explanation and Communication:•    The answer is family, what is the question?
•    Give a talk to the class about your own family. Develop the assessment criteria as a class group before starting work on your presentation. You will also need to include the essential elements that need to be included in each presentation (eg. history, culture, etc). You may use props and resources to enhance your presentation.

Activity Suggestions:

1. Locate the passenger lists on this website and use these to identify the family groups onboard each vessel. Which was the largest family group? Which ship had the most families? What other information about families can be gathered from these sources?

2. Select a family from this blog and use the Internet to find out how the family played a part in the establishment of the colony of South Australia. What contributions did they make?

3. The role of a man and woman in a marriage was very different in the 19th century. Suggest ways in which life and jobs in Australia might have been different for the husband and wife 5 years after arriving in Australia.

4. Plan an itinerary for a typical English family outing in 1836. Do the same to show what your family might do on the weekend. How do your itineraries compare?

5. Examine family structures in different countries and cultures, either today or in the past. Work with a partner to explore one country / culture in greater depth. Share your findings in an interesting way. As a class, identify how families across the globe are the same / different. Discuss the reasons for this.

What if?

What would have happened if the English government had decided to only send childless adults to South Australia in 1836?

What do you think?

Discuss the following:
The journey to South Australia in 1836 was much tougher for families than single people.

Stay tuned…

This week we have looked at family roles and structures in the past and today. Australian families are very different to those that came to South Australia in 1836. The family structure, lifestyle, pastimes and homes have all changed. Next week we will look at the early homes established by our immigrants and the locations in which they chose to live.

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