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Students’ Letters and Stories

The students’ letters of introduction are important preparation for their participation in
the role-play experience. Ideally, we like to receive and read these before your visit.


In order to maximise the costumed school experience, we ask students to each write an imaginative letter or story based on answers to the questions below. Additions relevant to the 1850s Ballarat theme are welcome!


This task is good preparation for the role-play style of teaching. We will use some of the information provided in these letters to enhance our engagement with the students during the program.


They should use their real names and be conscious that they are writing from the perspective of a child of the 1850s. Careful and pleasing presentation of work is important and appreciated.


These letters or stories should be sent at least one week prior to your visit. They can be posted or scanned and emailed to sovereign.hill.sch@edumail.vic.gov.au


Please note that the basic information to be supplied in each letter or story varies for different schools.

Red Hill National and St Peter’s Denominational Schools

Your letter or story needs to include:

Father’s name and occupation.
Mother’s name and occupation.
Your name and age.
How did your family travel to the Colony of Victoria?
From which country did you come?
How did you travel from Melbourne or Geelong to Ballarat?
Why did your family come to Ballarat?
Describe your dwelling in Ballarat. (Tent in the early 1850s. Possibly a bark, slab/mud hut. Cottage in later 1850s/60s.)
Individual information of a personal nature that is appropriate.

 

 

 

St Alipius’ Diggings School

Your letter should answer the questions above, but you should come from Ireland. Name your Irish home town and county eg., Ennis in County Clare. You need to know about the potato famine and its effects on the Irish people.

 

 

 

Ragged School

This is charity education for very poor families. You might be an orphan through tragic circumstances. Describe these in your letter or story. Your father might have died or abandoned your family. Your writing should reflect the poverty faced by your family.

 

 

 

Suggested Possible Occupations
Females

Straw Bonnet-maker
Milliner
Dressmaker
Maid
Laundry Maid
Cook
Scullery Maid
Shopkeeper
Pastry-cook
 Housewife

Males

Miner
Blacksmith
Cobbler
Carriage Builder
Carpenter
Shopkeeper
Trooper
Bricklayer
Merchant
Tailor
Grocer
Butcher
Brewer
Wood-cutter
Shipwright
Publican
Plasterer
Fishmonger
Printer
Auctioneer
Draper
Mason
 Labourer

Australian Curriculum

The Sovereign Hill School’s costumed program links beautifully with Year 5 Humanities and Social Science ‘Australian communities - their past, present and possible futures’.

Australian Curriculum HASS Level 5 description

Costumed School Resources

The following resources are recommended for use in your classroom programs prior to and following your visit.

Recommended Reading List
The Importance of Good Handwriting (Copperplate Writing)
Using the artwork of S.T. Gill as a teaching resource

Sovereign Hill Education Unit

Teaching Kits

Talking About Learning (featuring Doug Bradby on teaching history)

Bibliography of Teaching Resources