Strangers on the Shore Education Resources

These resources are tailored to the WA Shipwrecks Museum facilitated education program Strangers on the Shore. Visit the Strangers on the Shore webpage to learn more about the program and make a booking enquiry.


Excursion Extensions 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:

  • 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 Strangers on the Shore with a guided tour of Fremantle Prison.


At School – Classroom Activities

Following are some suggested activities for exploring the topic of the Australian colonies:

  • Colonial timelines: Create two timelines to compare and contrast the colonial settlements of Swan River Colony in Western Australia and that of New South Wales on the east coast.  Record details of early exploration through to established colonies. Find creative ways to include information such as key people and events that shaped the colonies. Analyse these timelines side by side to compare and contrast reasons for the establishments of these colonies and the patterns of colonial development and settlement.
  • Travel Guide:

    • Part A – After researching the reasons for the establishment of the Swan River Colony, create a poster that might have encouraged people to move there. What was promised? Did people get what they hoped for?
    • Part B – Write a Tripadvisor review (if they had them back then!) from the point of view of a Colony inhabitant, that reflects their experience of living in Western Australia.
  • Colonial Game of Life: In groups, create a Swan River Colony-based board game based on a familiar format like Game of Life, Monopoly, or another fun game. Invent the rules of the game, its layout, and the stops on the on the board. Make sure the board and any action cards reflect such elements as areas of settlement, challenges that were faced, geographical and climate influencers, early encounters with Aboriginal people and frontier conflicts, convicts, transport, discovery of gold, environmental impacts and the daily lives of the different inhabitants. Give the games creative names (e.g. “Swan River Survival”) and have a game day where students play each other’s games.
  • First Australian Christmas: Research what food was available to the English settlers when they first arrived in June 1829. What did they bring with them and what could they have grown? Plan their first Christmas lunch in the new Swan River Colony – how would it compare to what they were used to back in England? How does it compare to the foods available to Aboriginal people in the season of Birak? Create and decorate a menu that reflects the lifestyle of the early settlers. You may wish to cook and share some of the food available to the different inhabitants of the Swan River Colony in 1829.
  • Creative writing: Write a fictional letter home, diary entry or early newspaper article from the point of view of one of the different inhabitants of the Swan River Colony (e.g. a maid, farmer, wealthy land owner, Aboriginal person, child, or convict). Discuss life in the colony and include commentary on clothing, food, leisure, work, housing and any challenges faced.  What are their experiences? What are some challenges they have encountered? What do they miss from home? Would they recommend friends or family join them in the Swan River Colony?
  • A Picture Tells a Thousand Words: Create an original art work that communicates the impact that British colonisation had on the lives of Aboriginal people. Hang the work in the classroom and host a gallery exhibition to showcase your work, where selected artists can discuss the stories behind their work.
  • Changing Landscapes: Choose an introduced plant or animal species that arrived in Australia with European settlement (e.g. rabbits, foxes, sheep, wheat, apples). Create a poster that details the impact that species has had on the environment, community, ecosystem and economy of Australia.
  • ‘This is Your Life!’: In small groups, research an individual or group that were significant or contributed to shaping the colony (for example, explorers, farmers, Aboriginal people, convicts, women etc). Then create a ‘This is your Life’ skit to perform in front of the class, where the motivations, achievements and contributions of your research subjects can be shared (For example James Stirling, John Septimus Roe, Yagan, Moondyne Joe, Fanny Balbuk, Georgiana Molloy etc).
  • Class debate: Hold a ‘Town Meeting’ to debate the case for the introduction of convicts to the Swan River Colony. In hindsight, do you think the early settlers made the right decision? Consider some ‘what if?’ scenarios, such as doubling or halving the number of convicts, or restricting it to female-only convicts.
  • Comic capers: Research the life of convicts in Western Australia, and create a comic strip of the daily life of a convict. Perhaps it could portray an escape or the type of work they had to do. Use a range of words in the strip, for example: ticket of leave, crime, punishment, prison, cell, flogging, cat o’ nine tails, chains, leg irons.
  • Farming Foibles: To explore the challenges that early settlers faced adapting to farming in a new environment, experiment with growing a fast-growing plant such as cress or mustard seeds. Brainstorm together the variables of the experiment (e.g. soil types, frequency of watering, amount of sun) to compare the environmental conditions of England and Western Australia. Under what conditions do the seeds grow best? What challenges do you think the settlers faced with their early farming?  
  • Mathematical Mail: On a map of the South West region of Western Australia, locate Perth, Fremantle, Guildford, Albany and any other locations of significance. Imagine it was your job to deliver the mail or other goods between the towns. Research or calculate the distances between these locations. Now calculate the time it would take to walk, ride a horse, or take a steam train to travel between them. How long did people have to wait for deliveries in colonial times? What challenges might have been faced? What did the introduction of roads, bridges, rail and eventually cars mean for colony? What factors influenced the development of these?