Shipwrecked! Education Resources

These resources are tailored to the WA Shipwrecks Museum facilitated education program Shipwrecked! A Past in the Present Experience. Visit the Shipwrecked! A Past in the Present Experience webpage to learn more about the program and make a booking enquiry.


In Fremantle

While in Fremantle you might like to extend your excursion with the following suggestions. These might be useful if you have three groups rotating around the facilitated program:

  • Stand outside the WA Shipwrecks Museum and reflect on the significance of the site and its changes over time:

    • The line of bricks on the ground is where the original shoreline used to be. The animals etched in the brick are the sea life that local Aboriginal people fished for. The area around the building, including restaurants near Bathers Beach and the Esplanade Park across the road is reclaimed land that has been developed since 1829 settlement.
    • The WA Shipwrecks Museum was built by convicts in the 1850s, and has been used as a government storehouse (Commissariat) for holding building materials and food supplies, until it became a Museum in 1970s.
  • Explore the area around Bathers Beach (called Manjaree by the Whadjuk people), the approximate site of the first mainland arrival of English colonial settlers:
    • Manjaree was an important meeting and trading place for the Whadjuk people. The path through the bush by the beach follows the original shoreline, and the vegetation has been restored to what the landscape may have looked like before settlement.
    • Follow the boardwalk along the beach and see etched into the boards a list of items of cargo that was on board the shipwrecked Marquis of Anglesea.
    • Visit the site of the open-air morgue from the 1890’s.
    • See Kidogo Art House which was once used as a kerosene store. Kerosene was used to light streetlights prior to gas and electricity, but as it was dangerous it was kept far away from other Fremantle buildings.
    • Spot the remnants of the old Long Jetty where ships used to dock before the Fremantle Harbour was opened up in 1897.
  • Visit the Round House, the oldest public building in WA, and the first prison in the colony (1831). Time your visit for 1pm to hear the canon fire and watch the ball drop down. This is how settlers used to synchronise their clocks and chronometers. Then walk through the tunnel underneath to see the site of the first whaling tryworks (1837), where valuable whale oil was extracted and exported. It is free to walk around the outside, but to go inside it is best to book.
  • Contact the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Fremantle and find out about their excursion options for while you are in Fremantle.  It is located next to Round House.
  • Spend the whole day in Fremantle and combine your Shipwrecked! A Past in the Present Experience with a guided tour of Fremantle Prison.


At School – Classroom Activities

Following are some suggested activities for exploring the topic of The Past in the Present:

  • Local history: Research the history of the school and present their findings to the rest of the school at an assembly. Students could find old school photos or pictures of the grounds, and compare how things have changed or stayed the same (for example, the architecture, clothing worn). There may even be a teacher, parent or grandparent that went to the same school, who could be interviewed by the students.
  • Traces from the past: While researching the school’s history, students can look at how buildings have been changed or added to in the school grounds. Can they identify the oldest and newest parts? Is there any evidence of things being painted over, demolished, covered up or changed in some way? Take photos and create a display for the front office.
  • Name game: The Eglinton shipwreck has been used as the inspiration for a new suburb north of Perth. Look at a map and find local suburbs and street names, and work as a class to find out the history of those names. Look for names that might have a connection to Aboriginal places or Noongar words, as well as names that have links to Colonial times.
  • Offline: Find some copies of very old letters to look at (use online library collections) Use a similar format to write a letter to a grandparent. Talk about the differences between sending an email and sending a letter in terms of layout, language used and how the message is sent and received.
  • On board: Learn more about life on board a ship in the past few centuries. As a class, create a big chart on the board comparing historical ship travel with modern plane or bus travel (they could use the bus ride to the Museum to trigger memories) and discuss aspects of each one and how they differ. For example: Time the journey took; what was used to ‘power’ the vehicle; how does the navigator/driver find their way; where do passengers sit; what facilities are on board; etc.
  • Go West: Use books or online resources to look more closely at old fashioned navigational tools. Look up how to make a simple compass using a leaf, a paperclip and a bowl of water. Explore other aspects of navigation by looking at the position of the sun in the sky to work out East/West.
  • On the Map: Find and Print out a selection of old and modern maps of the World and of Western Australia (resources like state libraries and Trove are useful). Compare the maps and talk about the main differences in small groups.
  • Shipwreck Stuff: Explore our online collection (insert link here) to look at objects found on WA shipwrecks. Identify familiar and unfamiliar items and discuss how some things have changed a lot whilst others remain relatively unchanged.
  • Fun and Games: Explore some old-fashioned games or make up some of their own, just as children in the ‘olden days’ would have done. Make up a skipping-rope rhyme; See who can make the most interesting thing out of a sheet of newspaper; Have a sack-race on the grass; Play the game of hopscotch by using chalk; Make up a card game from a deck of cards, or play some old favourites like Snap and Old Maid; Make a spinning top and see how long they can keep it spinning; Bring in some marbles and make up some games; Have a hula-hoop competition.
  • Go nuts: Collect gum nuts from the school playground or have students bring them in from their gardens or parks. Have students create toys or games from them in as many different ways as they can, such as making patterns on play-dough, stencilling patterns with paint, creating their own gum nut figures.
  • Puppet Play: Make olden day characters from old socks, wooden spoons, cardboard, or anything else they can find and put on a puppet show to entertain the class.
  • A stitch in time: Have the students learn to sew, embroider, weave, knit or crochet and create an old fashioned ‘sampler’ featuring their name.
  • Rugged Up: Make a rag-rug as a class project or create something smaller such as a placemat. This activity will demonstrate how materials were re-used to make other useful objects, with little waste.
  • School Days: Research what schools were like in the olden days and draw up a table comparing today’s classroom with the past. For example, headings could include: School rules Punishments / consequences, Subjects studied, Games played in the playground, How students got to and from school, Old-fashioned names, Clothes children wore to school Heating / cooling in the classroom.
  • Time Travel: Using ideas from the above activity, role-play a day in an olden days school. Allocate old-fashioned names, and dress up for the day!
  • Colonial Cooking: Research what foods were available in the olden days and find some recipes from these times to try. Students could make their own butter and bake bread, damper, biscuits or cakes.
  • Show and Tell: Students could bring in historical items from a grandparent, and present the class with a story about what the item is and what it was used for. These items could be made into a mini-museum display with students creating their own interpretive signage.
  • Scootle: Search the Scootle website by the Australian Curriculum descriptor codes listed above for more ideas.