First peoples

1. It is estimated that Aboriginal people have lived continuously in Australia for over 60,000 years. They developed a close connection to the land that provided them with food and shelter. Ask your students to explore the five Lycett paintings to find evidence of ways the people he depicted lived off the land. They should list their findings under the following three headings:

Food, Shelter, Community (family/friends)

2. Watch the video with your students to find out about Joseph Lycett, who created these paintings. Lycett was convicted of forgery in 1811 and sentenced to 14 years transportation. He arrived in Australia in 1814 and spent time at the Newcastle settlement where the commandant urged him to show the traditional way of life of the Awabakal people in his paintings.

In a class discussion, ask your students:

  • What can we learn about the past from paintings?
  • How is a painting different from a photograph?
  • Do you think that paintings, including the above five by Lycett, are always accurate in what they show?

(Teachers may also be interested in viewing the short video Figure in the Landscape: John Glover about another early painter who depicted Indigenous people).

3. The Lycett paintings show Aboriginal people and the environment in which they lived. Ask your students to create a picture of themselves showing the environment in which they live.

Other Treasures sources that relate to the concepts explored in this source include: Contact, Communication