Learning Sequences

For History teachers and students

Developed by HTAA (The History Teachers' Association of Australia)

Unit 2 - Investigating the 1852 Gundagai Flood

1. Learning Sequence


This learning sequence focuses on a specific historic event, the Gundagai flood of 1852, which aligns broadly with the Year 9 topic Making a Nation. However, the learning sequence could be adapted for research on any topic. The sequence encourages students to discover and understand how historical events are reported, recorded and remembered.

The 1852 Gundagai flood was Australia’s worst natural disaster in terms of lives lost—until the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009. Around one third of the town’s population drowned and buildings, property and livestock were swept away. Survivors spent days and nights clinging to trees or rooftops until they were rescued by men in boats.

Commemoration of this tragic event acknowledges the lives lost and the heroism of the rescuers and has taken many interesting forms over the more than 150 years since the flood.

Gundagai 1852 Flood Plaque

Plaque commemorating the Gundagai Flood of June 1852
Image © Peter F Williams and Monument Australia, monumentaustralia.org.au

Building student knowledge and skills

The learning sequence is designed to be completed in four or five 50-minute lessons. However, timing may vary due to factors such as student familiarity with or access to Trove, student ability, and the writing, drafting and editing practices of the class.

The learning sequence introduces students to key sources on the flood and equips them with the skills to find other sources available through Trove. Activities are designed to give students confidence in analysing sources and using the information from them to construct and support their own accounts of the flood and to explain how it has been commemorated over time.

The learning sequence addresses the following curriculum skills:

  • identify and locate relevant sources, using ICT
  • process and synthesise information from a range of sources for use as evidence in a historical text
  • identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past
  • develop a historical text that uses evidence from a range of sources that are referenced.

It also offers an opportunity to allow students to discover knowledge about Australia’s past that will support discussion of aspects of civics and citizenship, such as:

  • how values, including freedom, respect, inclusion, civility, responsibility, compassion, equality and a ‘fair go’, can promote cohesion within Australian society
  • different perspectives about Australia’s national identity, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, and what it means to be Australian.

Culminating student activity

Throughout this learning sequence students are working towards a culminating activity, gaining the skills and knowledge required, as shown in the Learning Sequence Map (TR 1). The written components are essential, requiring students to organise their knowledge into coherent texts that integrate and reference relevant sources. However, teachers may wish to offer more creative options for how the final text is presented.


Your task
Using resources available on TROVE, write an account of the Gundagai flood of 1852 for an online Australian History Encyclopedia. Your entry will be in two sections:

Part A: A 500 word account of the flood that addresses the 5Ws. (See 5W Scaffold, SR 5)

Part B: A 250 word explanation of how commemoration of the flood has changed over time.
Include 4 images, appropriately labelled. (See Commemoration, SR 4)

Both Part A and Part B should integrate evidence from a range of sources found on Trove to support your responses. All sources used should be correctly referenced. (See Referencing Sources in History and Student Use of Referencing, SR 2 and SR 3).

Teaching/learning program

For a more detailed back-map and program for this learning sequence, refer to the Learning Sequence Map (TR 1).

Marking guidelines

Two sets of marking guidelines are provided, depending on how teachers might wish to assess and provide feedback to students, see the Feedback and Marking Templates (TR 3).