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Week 39: Time

[ 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 ]

The journeys to South Australia in 1836 were all of different duration, with many factors affecting the length of time it took a vessel to arrive. Each week we read references made to time, some are general references, such as Woodforde who writes, “My time has on the other days been variously employed working at my hut,” while other references are more specific, as Thomas wrote, “I was suddenly startled about 5 o’clock by the loud crowing of a cock.” Today we have systems that enable us to tell the time accurately anywhere in the world, but what was it like in 1836, how did the crew and passengers tell the time at sea? Was the time accurate and how did the time affect the journey to South Australia?


Image of a ship's chronometer housed in its wooden box
Ship’s chronometer, c.1907

Inquiry Questions:

1.   How can we describe time?
2.   How has time been recorded, measured and represented in the past?
3.   How would time have impacted on the lives of these early migrants to South Australia?

Research Topics:

1.    What strategies / objects can be used to tell the time at sea?
2.    Why did each journey to South Australia take a different length of time?
3.    How have advances in technology changed the way time is represented?

Historical Skills:

Chronology, Historical terms and concepts:• Develop a word wall of words associated with time.
• Create a timeline to show how time telling devices have evolved over time.
• Why do we have time zones and what does the term ‘zulu’ refer to?
Historical questions and research:• Explore how time telling devices have changed from ancient civilisations to the present day by introducing a ‘mystery box’ containing a variety of time related objects (watch, alarm clock, stop watch, egg timer, sand timer, sun dial, calendar, timetables for train, television guide, analogue clock, books about time). Students to examine the contents of box and connections between each item. Scribe any questions on brown paper & ask students to discuss in groups / whole class. Record student responses. Continually add to this list – using different colours to show understanding.
Analysing and using sources:• Read through this week’s journal entries and highlight all the references made to time.
• Explore the workings of a maritime chronometer. What are the connections between time, longitudinal references and celestial navigation?
Perspectives and interpretation:• Find out about journeys from England to South Australia in 1836, 1910, 1950 and 2011. Identify the forms of transport and the length of time journeys took. In which year would you have preferred to travel?
Explanation and Communication:• Use the journal entries to identify the time taken for each vessel to depart England and arrive in South Australia. Represent your findings in a visual form.
• Look at picture books associated with time, including the Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Bad Tempered Ladybird – Examine how it can be represented in different ways. Invite students to write their own stories that could be shared with a younger student. Encourage students to be creative in their presentations (e.g. an animation, Photo Story).

Activity Suggestions:

  1. Identify the world time zones on a map. Use your map to work out the current time in different world locations. How would today’s representation of time zones differ to those identified in 1836?
  2. Time affects all living things, but how we use our time and structure our days differs. Examine the way time is structured for your family on a typical weekend. For example, what time do you get up, have breakfast, go to bed, etc. What impacts on the length of these activities? Use a graphic organiser to compare your typical day with someone else in your class.
  3. Identify the number of devices that keep / tell the time at home. Keep a tally of items (e.g. microwave, telephone, alarm clock, analogue clock, DVD player, etc). Record information on a graph. Tally whole class data and create a graph to show the most common time telling devices located in student homes.
  4. Use the design, make and appraise process to make a model of an item that tells or records the time. Students research their chosen device and develop a document that gives information about their model. Provide students with feedback using a Rubric.
  5. Explore the daily events / lessons for your class. Identify the lessons for the day and using the interactive whiteboard, involve students in the organisation and sequence of lessons. Discuss the reasons for choice of times and how they are impacted by other school events (e.g. musical instrument lessons).
  6. Look at public transport timetables. Organise an outing for the day, using the timetables. How many types of transport can you use, ensuring connection times are accurate. 

What if?

There were no time telling devices in 1836. Suggest reasons as to why or why not these journeys to South Australia would have occurred.

What do you think?

Discuss the following:
With advances in technology, time telling devices will look very different in 100 years from now.

Stay tuned…

Time has passed quickly and it is not long now until all the ships arrive in South Australia. At this stage, many of the passengers are pleased to have arrived in the new colony, with their feet on land once again. The years following arrival were full of challenges and saw many changes in the landscape and environment. Next week we will explore Port Adelaide and find out why it was a significant area for our new migrants.

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