Frontier conflict

1. Provide students with Bulla’s background context. Use the image with the following questions to prompt an exploration of frontier conflict:

  •  What is happening in this image?
  • Which groups can you see in this image?
  • What do you think caused this conflict?
  • What knowledge does each group have that the other doesn’t?
  • What do you think the individuals in this image are each feeling?
  • Where was the artist when these events were taking place?
  • How does the image make you feel?

2. Engage students in a creative writing activity, inspired by the painting Bulla. Ask them to choose a person from the painting and adopt that person’s point of view in their writing. Students may write a diary or journal entry, a letter or a poem.

3. The Australian Curriculum: History Year 5 calls for students to consider ’what if’ scenarios by constructing different outcomes. With an understanding of the context of Hodgkinson’s image Bulla and if students are familiar with the story of Burke and Wills, ask students to write an 1861 newspaper article. The article should focus on a ‘what if’ scenario where Burke and Wills are joined by Indigenous people on their journey. The expedition then reaches the Gulf of Carpentaria, and returns safely to Melbourne, by eating bush foods and drinking fresh water found by the European explorers’ Indigenous companions. The article could celebrate the success of the expedition and a newfound understanding of the Australian environment and Indigenous people.

Other Treasures sources that relate to the concepts explored in this source include: Indigenous Experiences, Inland Adventures, and Flag of the Southern Cross.